Lift Every Youth graduation: Each one, teach one
Last week, we shared how our Lift Every Youth Employment & Mentorship Program is helping to break down barriers to well-paying jobs and career success for young people through an innovative internship and mentorship program that intentionally prioritizes young people with the greatest needs in Internship program breaks barriers for young people most affected by inequities.
This year’s program participants graduated last week, and marked the occasion with a graduation event with King County Executive Dow Constantine at the Dexter Horton Building.
“Over the last two years, Lift Every Youth has been a really valuable experience for both the participants and for the mentors,” said Executive Constantine. “It is important that King County can make internship and mentorship opportunities available to young
people for a number of reasons.”
“We need to show young people – particularly youth of color – that careers in public service, in serving the people, can be both accessible and rewarding. With our commitment to leading with racial justice, we have to nurture our community’s leaders of color, and we have to continue to encourage young people to bring their unique strengths.”
“Before I started this program, I was in a tough position with the juvenile system. I thought it was over,” said Isaiah Kofi Mawudeku, who interned with Metro Transit. “Then I got this opportunity to work with Lift Every Youth. When I first started, I had a lot of doubt. I thought no one was going to understand me. I didn’t think I belonged here. I was letting my past define my future. But the mentors that reached out to me, they connected, they built professional relationships, they could relate to my struggle, they gave me hope and helped me believe in myself again. They helped me understand that I earned my position – that I’m here because I’m supposed to be. It surprised me how easy it was to build relationships with these amazing mentors. I was stepping out of my comfort zone all summer. Now I have a few goals for the school year; strictly A grades, and take advantage of the career center that we have. I want to thank all of the mentors. Thank you for this opportunity.”
Metro Transit Managing Director for Design and Construction Ade Franklin was one of the program mentors who enjoyed the opportunity to have Isaiah as a mentee. “There’s an African-American proverb that says, ‘each one, teach one,’ used when working on literacy – particularly in Jamaica – and it’s one of those expressions that has stuck with me. Each one, teach one,” said Franklin. “The students that are here, I was not much different from them. The things that we’ve shared with one another lead me to believe that their capacity to outperform me to reach into places that I have not is certain. Although the proverb is ‘each one, teach one,’ I think some of us have the capacity to do more than that. So find your capacity.”
King County Equity Strategies Manager Arun Sambataro is looking to expand the program next year to welcome 15 interns. Contact Arun for more information about how you and your team can get involved.