This month we’re highlighting the great work of our partners at Durham Children’s Initiative, and specifically, how our corps member Mollie Sullivan is serving with them this year. To learn more about DCI, visit their website at https://dci-nc.org/.
DCI’s mission is to build a pipeline of high-quality services for Durham youth and their families that overcomes the barriers to their success. Anyone who lives in Durham can register with DCI and access our services. DCI’s approach is comprehensive, from pre-K services, to Family Advocates who focus on the whole family, to an Academic Team that helps ensure student’s success, to a Workforce Development Team that assists youth with the transition into the adult world. I’m a Workforce Development Associate.
Workforce Development is all about empowering youth to grow the workplace and life skills they need to have a successful career post-high school. One highlight has been working with several students who are in a pilot BioWork program at Durham Tech. The initiative is facilitated by Made In Durham, another non-profit which envisions a Durham in which all youth complete a post-secondary credential and begin a rewarding career by age twenty-five. I have enjoyed collaborating with other local organizations and seeing how different services fit together in the community. Workshopping the BioWork student’s resumes was my first direct interaction with DCI youth, and it’s been neat to follow along as the students near program completion. More recently, I’ve been planning an end-of-course dinner to celebrate the student’s accomplishments. I can’t wait to bring all the people who have contributed to this program’s success together!
My favorite events at DCI are those that involve the greater community. DCI hosted Fiestita del Pueblo, a celebration of Latin Heritage, over Halloween weekend. Along with arts and crafts, a food truck, zumba, and games, multiple community organizations put up tents and connected with DCI families. Holiday Zone is our next big event, when families come to DCI to pick up gifts for their kids. A project I’m looking forward to facilitating is STEAM Saturdays, which involves teaching science, technology, engineering, arts, and math activities to elementary schoolers. I and the other JSC corpsmember at DCI are collaborating with two family advocates and an Americorps volunteer to plan and facilitate the program in the new year. Easing into in-person programming is an exciting prospect that I hope we can continue to safely expand.