The Boys And Girls Of Summer
Angela Alsobrooks and the Summer Youth Enrichment Program Team Kick Off The 2019 Work Season
By Natasha Pollard
The future belongs to the young and County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and her team want to help them to a great start – beginning with jobs this summer.
Streams of youth and parents descended on The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro as Alsobrooks and her team celebrated the start of the 2019 Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP) which will offer employment to 7,000 youth.
All SYEP participants placed in a summer position were invited to join the county executive, county officials and special guests to welcome them to the program which officially starts June 24.
Youth, parents and guardians were greeted with vendors, music and a welcoming atmosphere to network with one another.
Shawn Y. Stokes, Director, Office of Human Resources Management, opened up the program with greetings and the introduction of the Taratibu Youth Association, a local dance and spoken word troupe that has performed all over the world. Through their performance, the troupe aimed to inspire their peers to be outspoken and bold with their identity as young people.
After an introduction by Board of Education staff member, Erica Berry Wilson, Prince George’s County Executive, Angela D. Alsobrooks, came to the stage to address over 1,500 teens and young adults.
Alsobrooks, encouraged the newly employed youth, many assembled for the first time, to be proud of their decision to work in this year’s SYEP.
The county executive recalled that she and Wilson began their friendship as participants in the SYEP program as high school freshman. In addition to their friendship, they continue to serve Prince George’s County today by working to build SYEP.
“It was a real priority for us to make sure that as many of you who desire to work in the summer would have that opportunity so we’re going to always make sure that we put you and your interests first,” Alsobrooks said.
“I can tell you that you are the star of the story that I love to tell and I want you to know that, take it to your heart and take it away from here.”
“You can be assured that you are the single most important thing that happens on any given day in this county. And be assured that your future is solid, that your future is secure. This program is just one way of helping you to move forward into your future,” Alsobrooks continued.
Alsobrooks said she and her team could not do it alone.
“It’s a labor of love. There are people that you don’t know who work day and night to make sure this program is possible and that we move forward,” she said.
This year, the Alsobrooks administration expanded SYEP — it aimed to increase the previous enrollment from 3,000 to a projected 6,000 summer youth employees. However, leaders announced that some 7,000 young people will have employment this summer in Prince George’s – expanding the effort beyond original goals.
This initiative will mean an additional $4 million investment by Prince George’s County this year and helps align the business community to invest and come forward to hire young people.
The 2019 SYEP sponsors include Six Flags, Kaiser Permanente, State Farm, Wegmans and Giant. They stepped up to make sure that additional youth were a part of this year’s program and sponsored this SYEP kickoff event.
“This is one of the most important decisions you will make, a decision to invest in your future,” Alsobrooks said. She noted that this upcoming summer experience “is truly a stepping stone to your future.”
“I can tell you that every experience in your life has value -- every single experience. No matter the assignment, I want you to take it, grasp it, and run with it. Make the most of that experience because every experience counts. Go to whatever experience is in front of you and you give it your best and I promise you that experience will give its best to you. You’ve already done that by being here today. I have to tell you that we are so very, very proud of you. There is no way for me to overstate that. We are Prince George’s County proud of the young people here.”