How NIA Engages Youth Workers

NIA Community Services Network recognizes the many benefits that come about as a result of employing youth. Offering employment opportunities in one of our many programs is well aligned with the developmental tasks of youth, as well as their personal interests. It offers experiences that build workforce and career skills, offers important leadership roles and opportunities for service, creates career pathways to professions such as teaching and social work, and ensures that our programs are more relevant to other youth.

As part of NIA policy, all staff provides services in a manner that is sensitive to the ethnic, racial, and linguistic characteristics of the target population and acknowledge, recognize, and respect different cultural groups’ identities and experiences including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, youth culture, immigrant experience, socioeconomic status, religion, etc. We recruit a diverse and multicultural staff to ensure that the practices, thoughts, and norms of students and their families are valued even if staff does not understand or share the same cultural beliefs and practices. NIA makes every effort to ensure that staff members reflect program participants and parents.

All staff members are trained according to the School Age Child Care licensing requirements. They are required to be trained on topics such as identifying and reporting child abuse, child development, positive behavior management, safety and supervision, and more.

Following is an example of how NIA engages youth workers.

PASE Intern Sends Thanks to NIA for Employment Opportunity

Dear Christine:

I'm currently in finishing up my first year at Teachers College, and I just wanted to say thank you again for the amazing summer I had working at NIA.  It was truly a learning experience and opportunity to grow for me.  I remember being extremely nervous when I first started, but the experience was truly invaluable.  Because I was able to spend an entire summer co-teaching and teaching art to the kids, I was able to draw on these experiences (and continue to look back on them) during my time at Teachers College.  Last semester, I did fieldwork in a 1st grade class at P.S. 503 in Brooklyn.  Because, as you know, I had already spent so much time around the Kindergarten class at NIA, I was able to hit the ground running.  Also, during classes, when some of my classmates would ask about what was developmentally appropriate for K-5 students, I was able to use my knowledge and experiences from last summer to answer their questions.

Anyway, thank you so much for the wonderful summer!  I feel like I grew so much as a person and a teacher, and I am so grateful that I was able to have that experience.  Have a great week!

Thanks! -- Leighton Suen

Rosa Casella, Executive Director

"When youth workers are involved in planning and delivering the program, the program is viewed as more attractive and relevant to potential youth participants. Youth who are engaged as workers within the program also serve as positive role models to other youth."