Dear Peter,

This summer, 32 high school-aged youth from Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Cranston participated in six weeks of intensive workplace readiness training through the Young Voices Summer Workforce program. For over a decade, YV has provided youth with the unique opportunity to engage in highly relevant and meaningful industry projects through the support of caring professional mentors, all the while building their technical proficiency in skills such as interview etiquette and writing a resume. With our return to full in-person programming for the first time since 2019, youth and adults alike were eager to take part in hands-on, immersive experiences at worksites and centers of learning all across Rhode Island. We’re delighted to share some of those fun and unforgettable moments with you now!

Innovation Nation explored in-demand career trajectories in the STEM disciplines. Guided by URI Clinical Professor and Young Voices Board Member Dr. Tolani Olagundoye, youth gained an intimate familiarity with the facilities and course offerings at the University of Rhode Island, whether through getting up close and personal with livestock at Peckham Farm, or studying the neonatal care unit at the College of Life Sciences. Members of this industry project also visited tech-oriented workplaces such as Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) and International Game Technology (IGT) in downtown Providence to learn from the engineers, programmers, and architects behind Rhode Island’s civic and entertainment centers.

The youth of Innovation Nation prepare to handle a synthetic human cadaver at the URI College of Life Sciences.

Education Disruptors set out this summer with the mission of envisioning a transformative experience in the afterschool space. Youth visited college campuses at RIC and Brown to engage in meaningful dialogue on the root causes of inequity, systemic discrimination, and how leading educators and student activists are working tirelessly to reverse those trends. Great Schools Partnership Senior Associate and Young Voices Board Member Courtney Jacobs provided regular feedback and guidance for the group as they sought to design, ideate, and implement their own ideal vision for out-of-school time programs in Rhode Island.

The Education Disruptors hold a meeting with RIDE Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green to discuss educational equity, career pathways, and the importance of afterschool learning.

In the Making Money Moves project, youth uncovered the intricacies of the finance industry by learning how to manage and operate their own banking branch. TD Bank Assistant Store Manager Samantha Brown showcased various means of investment such as balancing a checking account, making smart spending decisions, and understanding the stock market. Store Manager Hector Mateo invited youth to the local TD branch in downtown Providence for a coordinated on-site visit and panel with experienced banking professionals. For their culminating project, the Making Money Moves team created a virtual brochure assembling their collective knowledge as a financial literacy startup guide for their fellow peers.

The Making Money Moves team alongside TD Bank mentors Sam, Leslie, and Chris during Mock Interview Day.

As we look back upon summer, it’s truly amazing to see all that our young people have accomplished in such a short amount of time. Across many high-wage, in-demand career pathways, the youth of Young Voices stretched themselves beyond their comfort zones and established lasting connections with leading professionals in their respective fields.

It’s not all business — youth cool down with a water balloon fight at Fox Point Water Park.

But most importantly, our youth connected with one another to form powerful bonds of friendship and memories that will carry them into another purposeful and challenging school year. If you want to ensure that even more of our young people can experience a deeply meaningful and enriching summer program in 2023, consider making your contribution to Young Voices today. Become part of the movement that has created a generation of powerful advocates making a difference in their schools, their state, and their world.

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