G.O.D. int'l is an Opportunity Now Partner, making a difference for youth in Nashville
As an organization, one of our primary goals is to serve the community where we work and live, living out Jesus' command to "love your neighbor as yourself." In our neighborhood of Hopewell, there are a variety of demographics in need of attention, but this summer we are excited to launch a new program for youth called WorkWell. This program will take kids who are too old for a kids' camp and too young for a full-time job, and give them a practical and meaningful way to spend their summer (and give them a paycheck at the same time)!
WorkWell is our version of a wider program offering employment to youth in Nashville. We're so happy to partner with the office of the Mayor, Megan Barry, and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, who will provide the wages and project supplies for WorkWell. Mayor Barry has seen the need for Nashville youth to grow in skills and have useful ways to spend their time, and has set out to reverse the decline of summer youth employment in Davidson County. Opportunity NOW is her answer, and works with programs like WorkWell to make it happen.
Our organization will offer four different projects for 24 youth aged 14-15. The jobs last six weeks in addition to a week of training which begins this week. These 24 youth are split into six teams which will be coached, or managed, by four "near-peers" (18-24 year old college students from Nashville). We're blessed to employ near-peer coaches from the Institute for G.O.D., all of whom have a passion for youth empowerment.
The job projects are designed to be fun and educational for the youth involved, focusing on soft job skills like initiative, time management, and communication. In addition, they will learn to work together as a team, show up on time, and see a project through to completion.
For the near-peer college students, their growth will be found in managing small teams, working out interpersonal differences in personality or work styles, and cultivating leadership skills.
Our job projects include:
A Summer Theater Project where the youth will work on scriptwriting, acting, putting together promotional materials, costumes, and stage design. The project will culminate in a theater production for the elderly.
A Community Garden Intensive that will teach youth to practice the basic skills of small-scale agriculture - planting, soil management, harvesting, food processing, seed propagation, transplanting and more.
A Basketball Camp for children 6-12 years old. This will be an excellent teaching opportunity for the youth workers, and a way to meet a need in the Hopewell neighborhood.
A Hopewell Common Areas Enhancement Project where youth will clean up and landscape common areas in the Hopewell neighborhood. They will learn to beautify and transform an environment, specifically a neighborhood that was historically segregated and neglected.
All of our projects fall under the "experience work" category laid out by Mayor Barry: a team-focused, project-based summer program for youth aged 14 to 17 that promotes community engagement.
All four of our projects will weave together to make what we hope will be a lasting impact on the youth workers, the near-peers, and the neighborhood of Hopewell! The garden project will deliver freshly harvested organic produce to widowed and elderly in the neighborhood and provide fresh vegetables to a kids camp. The theater project will provide meaningful entertainment to individuals who are not able to "get out" easily. The basketball clinic will give younger children new skills and a positive way to spend their time. The neighborhood as a whole will benefit from a clean and ordered environment, which we hope will inspire others to maintain or enhance their own part of Hopewell.
We look forward to the fruit of these projects, both in what they produce, and the lessons that the young people will learn along the way. We're grateful for the partnership we've gained in Nashville to be able to love our neighbors the very best we can! Please pray for this special opportunity we have, and stayed tuned for updates on our work!