In December 2015, Boston Cares celebrated as we graduated our first class of ServiceWorks Scholars! Twelve young people at Bird Street Community Center in Uphams Corner, Dorchester received certificates upon completion of ServiceWorks , a skills-based training program for opportunity youth living in urban areas around the country.
Over the past two months, the Bird Street Service Scholars learned about project management, budgeting, teamwork, leadership, communication, and networking as they navigated the ServiceWorks curriculum. They also performed hands-on service by braiding dog toys to benefit the Animal Rescue League of Boston, crafting holiday cards for seniors at Little Brother’s Friends of the Elderly, and ultimately creating their very own ServiceWorks capstone project! Focusing on the issue area of beautification of community spaces, the Bird Street Scholars designed and painted a new mural for the Bird Street Community Center gym. Members of the Bird Street Community Center had previously remarked that the gym walls had been untouched since Bird Street acquired the space. Nate Simms, the Manager of Workforce Development and Youth Leadership at Bird Street, mentioned the Scholars wanted to find some way to make the space “theirs.” When asked about their favorite part of ServiceWorks, Scholars like Dachanna pointed out the mural, because “everyone worked together… to get things done.” Stephen, a fellow Scholar, agreed, saying he “had a lot of fun with his peers” in this program.
Even though the Bird Street Scholars are officially ServiceWorks graduates, they plan to keep service a part of their daily lives: come this Spring, these youth hope to volunteer monthly through the Boston Cares Calendar program.
ServiceWorks is currently in its second year of a three-year, ten-city national initiative powered by Points of Light, Citi Foundation, and AmeriCorps. In Boston, this is its first year being housed at Boston Cares. If you would like to serve as a volunteer for the ServiceWorks program, please sign up here. If you are a youth organization in Boston interested in running ServiceWorks at your agency, please contact Elaine Hsiang, ServiceWorks Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-422-0910 x214.