I realized that since LightHouse Youth events are all held over Zoom these days, I actually have time to be a volunteer mentor. As a staff member at LightHouse who has low vision, I have often felt the desire to share some of my educational and professional experiences with the younger generation. I was offered some amazing opportunities during my youth, but also remember being discouraged and left out of several interesting programs and events. If an adult has been willing to share their story when I was a teenager struggling to fit in and discover my dreams, I would have appreciated that tremendously. So, I contacted Ann Wai-Yee Kwong and Jamey Gump to see if they could use a mentor volunteer for any of their upcoming programs.
Next thing I knew, I was on the agenda for the next week’s “Not So Bored Game Night” and “Youth PLUG-In”, both held over Zoom. It turned out that the participants had been wanting to talk to a writer who is blind, and the topic for that week’s PLUG-In was “The Art of Writing”. It felt like this was just up my alley as a Communications major in college, a grad school recipient of a Masters, and currently working at the LightHouse in the Communications Department. I write for fun, for work and for processing my inner-most thoughts. It was a joy to share how these forms of writing overlap and differ, and what writing tools I have used over the decades as I have experienced various levels of sight.
Not only was it exhilarating to discuss their professional growth and perhaps spark an interest in writing for pleasure, but I also got to let my inner teen shine at the Not So Bored Game Night. An exciting highlight was being able to judge a house scavenger hunt. Jamey and I judged each of five rounds where students had to gather items. It was a challenge of the heart not to pick the person that seemed to need a little extra love and, instead, go for the person who really deserved it, like the teen who brought their tiger stuffed animal to fulfill the item “something fuzzy”. I’m still crushing on that tiger!
If you find you have some flexibility in your schedule and are comfortable with Zoom, there are plenty of opportunities coming up for you to support our youth by volunteering to be a mentor for their upcoming programs. The Not So Bored Game Night continues on Tuesdays from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and there is a Sensing the Seasons Workshop June 12 through 14. The Youth Employment Services or YES Academy will be online July 6 through August 7 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We are even hiring a mentor for the YES Academy, so visit our career opportunities page for details. Check out our website calendar for many other programs and events, or else email email@example.com for more information and other opportunities.
Applications for YES Summer Academy 2020 are now open!
Monday, July 6 through Friday, August 7, 2020
Applications for the YES Summer Academy close on June 12, 2020.
LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired Youth Employment Series (YES) is excited to announce the 2020 Summer Academy for working age blind and low vision youth. Students will have access to an unforgettable summer filled with interactive learning opportunities as they participate in work-based learning experiences. They’ll meet life-long friends, mentors and supportive LightHouse staff. Students will be immersed in a comprehensive pre-employment independence skills course which takes place at the heart of an empowering and supportive community in San Francisco. The YES Summer Academy is a four-week immersive experience for young people to gain skills which help build confidence and positive identity. They will learn to collaborate and be a team player, identify their strengths and interests, and gain a sense of direction through interactive work-based learning experiences.
By the end of the YES Summer Academy students will have expanded their web of support, explored career interests, and been equipped with vocational tools i.e. a set of professional attire, working resume, interview strategies, etc.
Further learning outcomes include:
Students will have the opportunity to conduct informational interviews with professionals resulting in relevant job exploration, counseling and labor market information.
Participants will be immersed in a variety of work-based learning experiences through paid work-based opportunities where they will be responsible for commuting to work, selecting appropriate attire, self-advocacy and negotiating workplace accommodations, as well as communicating with their respective supervisors.
Attendees will hone their workplace readiness soft skills such as practicing effective collaboration, drafting and delivering presentations, and engaging in independent living as they collaborate with and support one another.
Participants will increase their understanding of resources, services, and knowledge in the areas of self-advocacy, requesting accommodations, college education necessary for certain career paths, financial literacy including benefits planning, as well as legal rights and responsibilities of blind and low vision individuals.
Students will have the opportunity to elevate their attitude and confidence from meeting with successful blind and low vision peer mentors and professionals pursuing various careers as well as cultivate community with peers who have similar interest or transition aspirations.
Students will have the opportunity to practice setting, progressing, and achieving professional and personal goals.
Students will learn the importance of informed decision making in order to solidify and achieve their individualized projected post school employment outcomes.
YES Summer Academy’s comprehensive pre-employment transition skills curriculum: (1) Job exploration counseling (2) work-based learning experiences (3) counseling on opportunities for researching and enrollment in transition or post-secondary educational program (4) workplace readiness training to develop soft and independent living skills (5) critical instruction in self-advocacy refinement and connection to blind and low vision mentors. Our work-based experience component will encourage students to reflect and incorporate their Summer Academy experience on their resumes and be more prepared for when their dream opportunity arrives. YES Summer Academy also includes a chance to attend the annual National Federation of the Blind Convention held in Houston, Texas. This exciting conference will allow students to meet thousands of blind role models engaged in a myriad of work disciplines. Students will conduct informational interviews, practice their soft skills, be introduced to a wide array of products and services for the blind as they peruse the Exhibition Hall, participate in a nation-wide job-fair and informative seminars.
1. Space for the Summer Academy is limited and student application, interview, and funding/authorization must be confirmed in order to be considered.
2. The LightHouse Youth Services team is also seeking several enthusiastic and confident individuals to support program objectives and join the YES Summer Academy Mentor staff. Candidates must be youth-focused, flexible, and in possession of strong interpersonal, leadership and communication skills; for more information, please contact Ann Wai-Yee Kwong at firstname.lastname@example.org If you have any questions regarding the application process please contact Ann Wai-Yee Kwong by email at email@example.com or by phone at 415-694-7328.
Applicants for the Academy must have an open case with their state’s vocational rehabilitation agency or other entity for funding to cover associated costs. Please note that the fee is $8,000 which is all-inclusive except transportation costs to and from the program.
Applications for the YES Summer Academy close on June 12, 2020.