Members of NYCHA’s Youth Leadership Committees (YLCs) met with NYCHA employees and other professionals at NYCHA’s first speed mentoring event on February 22.
YLCs provide residents 14 to 21 with training and mentoring to help them address issues in their communities. “We want to help young NYCHA residents build important skills as they continue to grow into their roles as community leaders,” explained Sideya Sherman, Executive Vice President for Community Engagement and Partnerships.
NYCHA used a speed mentoring toolkit from NYC Service, a division of the Mayor’s Office to design the event. During a series of short, focused conversations, YLC members met individually with mentors for 10 to 15 minutes before rotating seats to talk to another professional. These one-on-one conversations provided an opportunity to ask mentors about their jobs, education, training, and experience.
Volunteer mentors represented public, private, and non-profit organizations such as the City Council, the State Assembly, the Mayor’s Office, the City University of New York, HBO, JPMorgan Chase, Urban Upbound, Educators for Excellence, and NYCHA.
What YLC Members Have to Say:
Kamiya White, Brooklyn East Youth Leadership Council Member, Van Dyke Houses
I think the speed mentoring can help me in the future because it’s a great way to motivate kids who don’t have a good support system at home and feel like what they want to be is irrelevant. The best part of speed mentoring was that I had a chance to talk to people from different boroughs and got advice that I probably won’t hear from anyone else. I learned that if I put my mind to something that I should go for it because the mentors I spoke with were also my age at one point and can understand being confusion on choosing a career or the pressure of school.
Zachary Rummit, Resident Youth Leader at Van Dyke Houses
This event is important to me because I want to learn new things; also, I want people to hear my story. In addition, I can network with people. This opportunity will get me out there so that people can know who I am and where I’m from and what my plans are for my community.
Why Mentors Volunteered:
Daphany Rose Sanchez, Energy Efficiency Associate, ICF, Inc., Cooper Park Houses
As a NYCHA resident it was important for me growing up to see other NYCHA tenants able to work in diverse industries. It provided hope and helped me fight for my education. I think this event helps them visualize the community of NYCHA residents who have exceeded stereotypes and are part of the local economy.
Joseph M. Kemp, Peer Mentor and Facilitator, Urban Upbound, Queensbridge Houses
Participation in this event is important to me because mentorship is invaluable. Being that I am a public housing resident myself, I know that having a mentor at a young age is highly advantageous to one’s career, education, and successful transition out of poverty.
Kara Ng, Physical Chemistry Doctoral Researcher, CUNY Graduate Center, Ingersoll Houses
My mentor changed my life. I believe mentorship is the most important aspect of any career. Growing up in NYCHA can have a unique impact. There are challenges that may lead to insecurities and fears about the future - then we limit ourselves to what career and educational opportunities we think are possible for us. The speed mentoring event brings together a diverse group of mentors and mentees, so that young NYCHA leaders can be exposed to the different, uncertain, and unconventional paths that people have taken. The knowledge that “this is possible” can be really powerful and inspire our future leaders to have the confidence to dream big.