On Wednesday, August 22nd was the Summer Cohort of JCP’s graduation!

Over the last six weeks, youth have put in nearly one hundred hours towards reaching educational achievements, job readiness, personal growth, and civic engagement. They have written resumes and practiced interviewing skills, learned about conflict de-escalation, attended two Bed-Stuy shooting responses, shadowed professionals in ten different career fields and taken part in a career panel with more than ten additional professionals, learned about financial literacy, received certification in first aid and CPR, learned about healthy cooking and prepared a nutritious meal on site at a local restaurant.

The JCP cohort also tabled with S.O.S. in Brower Park, canvassed the Crown Heights community, gathered and donated items to a women’s transitional home, met with men whose experiences with gun violence have left them wheelchair bound, learned about film-making and documented their summer experiences, attended a gallery show curated by their peers in the AGVYEP summer youth program, attended Red Hook’s Theater of War “Hercules” community reading, visited the Mayor’s office, and completed a Know Your Rights training.

Last week, JCP members packed nearly 400 bags for the NIA Back to School block party, then at the block party itself, face painted, did nails, made jewelry, helped create screen print shirts, led carnival games, signed people in, and distributed bags full of school materials. These young leaders have laughed with Youth Programs staff, rapped with them (yes, you read correctly they got bars!), experienced highs and lows, and have worked together to get goals completed. A definition of community is defined as, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” This Summer a community was created within the community of Crown Heights and that experience will not be forgotten.

Heather Day, Director of Youth Programs, ended her opening remarks at the graduation this Wednesday with a quote by Angela Davis that states, “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” JCP has become more about self-awareness and a level of transformation, or as was advertised, Leveling Up.