Boston NAACP Launch’s Summer Job – Pipeline to Leadership Program
On Saturday, July 14 approximately 20 youth, ranging in age from 14 to 20, gathered at the new office of the Boston NAACP for orientation. The students applied to participate in the Branch’s inaugural Summer Job – Pipeline to Leadership Program. A week prior, President Curry posted a message on Facebook seeking to find three kids to serve on the Branch’s Street Team, but received over 75 phone calls, emails and Facebook posts over the next 48 hours. “We realized that there was a huge demand for summer jobs in our community, and we needed the infusion of youthful energy, creativity and experience,” said President Curry. “Thanks to Mayor Menino and the City of Boston, we were able to secure the funds to provide stipends for 15 students to work for us.”
The youth received hours of training on the electoral process, canvassing and civic engagement, and then were charged with registering communities of color to vote. Since the first day of work, they have registered over 350 people to vote, and engaged hundreds of residents on the importance of voting. “We never realized just how important voting is and the impact it has on the allocation of resources,” said Herb Lozano, Youth Program Director. “We now understand that our efforts make a difference.” Herb is in his final year at Norfolk State University, majoring in Communications, and is considering a career in journalism.
In addition to non-partisan voter registration activities, petition drives, health advocacy, office work, discrimination complaint intake, planning a youth anti-violence rally and research on black businesses, the youth are also required to participate in leadership training. They have received presentations in public speaking, self-esteem, personal branding, models of black leadership, conflict resolution, race and racism, mass incarceration, NAACP history and community mobilization. They have also attended branch meetings with U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and functions with UMass Boston Chancellor Keith Motley. This week, they will receive presentations from the Boston FBI, the Boston Police Department, a tour of the Boston Globe, and meet with Teri Williams of One United Bank and author of “I Got Bank! What My Grandad Taught Me About Money,” aimed at financial literacy for children through fiction.
The students have just three weeks remaining for the summer before returning to school. President Curry is hoping that the media will cover the activities of these youth—destined to be future leaders.