My name is Kai. I am a member of Team Motion at Children's Media Project. This morning we had a discussion on whether SYEP funding should pay youth employees at jobs such as Wal-Mart and Stop & Shop or if the funding should be for creative jobs that offer a learning experience such as DROP TV and Turn It Up! Radio. The members of Team Motion are in agreement that SYEP funding should be spent on creative jobs. Alex, a member of Team Motion, states that "it is important for youth to explore their creativeness while learning on the job rather than juist give them a practical job where they may only learn a limited skill set". If youth are only exposed to jobs like cashiers at grocery stores they will
lack the skills or experience needed for a career which is the overall goal for people. Children's Media Project offers outlets for kids to express their creative ideas and try different things. Granted not all people want to be infront of a camera, but CMP has other positions. Working here gives kids a chance to be on a radio show, write scripts, act, take pictures, practice editing, and more then anything express themselves in a fun way. If SYEP strictly funds programs and companies like this much more youth would get the opportunity to experience this and gain skills that aren't often gained as a teen. Another member of Team Motion, Elissa, says "My mom always told me that when I started looking for a job to remember my first and primary occupation is a student." With CMP learning and working is always combined.
It is very unorthodox to work for a company and not get paid by them. CMP is a company thats works off of funds and provides for the youth of the community as much as they can with what is provided. If the company is providing an outlet for youth, giving them something constructive to do in their free time while teaching them and paying then why would SYEP funding go to Wal-Mart employees rather then this? I think that it's fine to find teenagers these jobs if they are looking for them but let Wal-Mart pay them and save the SYEP money for programs like CMP that educate students and help them gain skills in media and the arts.
Not only does CMP provide skills and an outlet for students to learn, but it also helps them gain a potential career. Many students here want a job in film making, photography, animation or something in those areas and CMP is helping them expand on that. Also CMP is providing the foundations of a job. And not only do jobs look good on a resume but they also help you gain independence and responsibility.
So funding of any kind to SYEP in my opinion should be used for programs that can pay students to learn, create and express themselves. There is nothing better than doing a job that you love and that you can have fun with, because then it doesn't feel like work. And the best kind of work, is the one that doesn't feel like work.