Last year marked the second time that I enrolled in the Futures in Motion: Youth CAN! Program.

In my first year in the program I was eager to learn everything however my interest quickly faded at the prospect of getting a job with Summer Youth Employment. I felt bad because the program offered so much but I wanted the instant gratification of having money right now.

Imagine my surprise when I was allowed to apply for the program a second time. I felt like I was intruding in on the new group somehow but I pushed forward and reapplied. I made a vow that this time around I was going to succeed and not miss a single day.

Going back to the classes was refreshing. Unlike my first time, I didn’t know many people in this group so it gave me a chance to really socialize with new people. At North Shore LIJ everyone dresses professionally and the classes are taken very seriously. We learned about finances, CPR training, mock interviews, elevator pitches, cover letters, resume building, and so many other things.

One of the best things about the program was connecting with a mentor who has a big title in one of the partner companies. (The adults ask you a few questions beforehand and based on what you say they match you up with a mentor of similar interests.) I especially like my mentor because we come from similar backgrounds and are both black. Despite him being almost 10 years older I still found him relatable. I could go out with him, talk about any personal issues I might be having, and he’s always available when I need him. I still talk to him to this day.

The friendships I made and the resources I utilized made this a remarkable opportunity that more youth in care should use.
The graduation ceremony we had was the icing on the cake. My mentor and my therapist came out to support me, which made the event all the better. Having all the peers I bonded with along with some of the facilitators made it feel like a school graduation. I was chosen as a speaker at the ceremony and spoke that night about how the experiences made me more well-rounded.

Overall I liked the program. A lot. I completed the first part with no absences, keeping true to my vow. Oh, and my reward for no absences? $300 worth of Amazon Gift cards!

Afterwards, I got started with my internship almost immediately. I continued my internship for about half a year before I couldn’t continue. Although I decidedly chose not to accept a job after my internship ended, it gave me a better perspective on what I would like from a job. These days I continue my passion being a Youth Advocate, helping youth find the resources needed to help them. Futures in Motion: Youth CAN! should be on the top of most foster youths list for programs to enroll in.