Penn State students volunteering at the CYEC!

10 Jun Penn State students volunteering at the CYEC!

A blog post from Penn State students volunteering at the CYEC:

Habari from the business team!

On Thursday we had our last workshop in the informal settlement of Majengo and we wrapped up our professional skills workshops at the Centre that same evening. It’s hard to believe that our workshops are already finished and that we only have a couple days left here at the Centre.

During the afternoon on Thursday we traveled to Majengo in order to meet for the last time with the women we have been working with. We continued to collaborate with Mercy and Bernard beforehand in order to make sure that the workshop was addressing the needs of the women in a comprehensive, yet easy-to-translate way. Mercy and Bernard have been delivering the workshops to the women in Majengo because of the language barrier, so this became as much their project as ours. We could not have given the workshops without them.

The last workshop in the informal settlement in Majengo went very well. We came up with a workshop discussing goal setting, savings, short-term and long-term financial planning. It was a challenge trying to figure out what to include so that it would be most beneficial for the women. At the end of the first workshop we were told that whatever we brought would be good, but we really wanted to create something useful. After spending some time with these women it’s clear that even though they have very few resources they do have a lot of drive, resilience, and motivation. They want to save money in order to put their children through school, which is incredibly admirable. They want their children to live better lives that they have had and are working hard in order to make that happen. Despite the language barrier I felt like I was able to learn a lot about the women through Mercy and Bernard.

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Once we arrived back home at the Centre our team made sure that everything was in place for our last professional skills workshop. We ended up spending a little more than an hour discussing the interview process, having the youth do mock interviews, and answering a lot of questions. It was another engaging and fun workshop. The fun part came mostly from the mock interviews that we had the youth do with one another. We discussed how to prepare for an interview and strategies for answering questions during interviews before having them interview each other. They came up with some very detailed and thoughtful questions to ask each other and also some funny answers. It was a fun activity and a nice way to wrap up our last workshop.

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Andres and Ben demonstrating a mock interview

Overall, our professional skills workshops seemed to be a hit. It was bittersweet ending the last workshop because we’ve spent the past two and a half weeks working on them and delivering them. We’ve established some solid relationships with the youth and have seen them progress personally throughout the workshops. It’s exciting for us to see the progress from workshop to workshop. As we all became more comfortable with each other it showed in our meetings and allowed us to see the progress more clearly.

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Bernard helping a student with her CV

Coming into this, our team had workshops ready but we knew that they would need to be changed once we arrived and were able to learn what the youth wanted and needed help with. Now all of the youth who attended the workshops have physical CV’s (resumes) that Ben and Andres are typing up and giving to the Centre on the flash-drive. Now we have all of these new friendships with the youth and memories from the workshops. It’s bittersweet that they have come to an end, but I’m proud of what we created and I’m even prouder of the youth that we worked with. They attend school or work during the day and still managed to come to our workshops engaged, ready for thoughtful discussion, and eager to be a part of them.

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