Photo 1: YES Academy students gather together at a Muni station in San Francisco. From left to right: Daisy Soto (YES Coordinator), Monse, Adam, Heriberto, Omar, Nicole (mentor), Eman, Katya, Rocco, Jisselle (mentor), Andrew (mentor), and Dlan
Photo 2: YES Summer Academy students Rocco, Hari and Adam pose together in front of a heart sculpture at Pier 39 in San Francisco
This summer, eight high school and college students joined LightHouse for our annual YES (Youth Employment Services) Academy. LightHouse Youth Services Coordinator, Daisy Soto, recaps the experience:
This year’s YES Summer Academy students spent 28 days learning and honing skills that will help prepare them for the workforce. During their first week, students received lessons from LightHouse staff on Orientation & Mobility (O&M), Independent Living Skills, and Access Technology essentials for employment. The second week focused on community-building and navigation skills. With the support of Youth Program staff and mentors, participants independently navigated new locations such as Angel Island, San Francisco State University, and Peer 39. They had the opportunity to take a variety of public transit systems (BART, Muni, cable cars, ferry, etc.) and worked on problem-solving strategies when exploring all of these new locations.
During their last two weeks, all students successfully completed their work experience practicums, which included some working as janitorial and food safety assistants and internships at LightHouse Sirkin Center. Weekends were filled with cooking challenges, walks on the Golden Gate Bridge and around Lake Merritt in Oakland, and an abundance of karaoke nights! YES participants left the program with not only an updated cover letter, resume, and job experiences in hand, but with increased pride and confidence as they take on employment and educational goals. It was certainly a summer filled with laughter and learning for all!
Photo 3: YES Academy student Hari explores a tactile map with LightHouse Orientation & Mobility Instructor Joshua Lopez
Photo 4: YES Summer Academy students and staff member cooking dinner in the accessible kitchen at LightHouse. From left to right: Dlan, Katya, Devin Upson (LightHouse Orientation & Mobility Instructor), and Rocco
As we wrap up a successful summer, the LightHouse Youth Programs team welcomes a new season filled with an array of educational, social, and recreational programs for youth and transition-aged students. Join like-minded blind and low vision academics for College Spaces, create cool art with fellow woodworkers in-person with Polishing in the Park, or hang out with your LightHouse and EHC besties every Friday night for the weekly virtual Daredevils watch party. Also this fall, LightHouse students ages 16 – 25 have the opportunity to join the LightHouse Youth Council. Do you have an idea for future programs or want to make a positive impact in your community? Learn more about the LightHouse Youth Council here. We look forward to an awesome autumn with the LightHouse Youth Programs team!