Straddling the world of education and human services, there are many jobs that provide beneficial services to youth that are not directly educational but are not purely social services. Our alumna, Karla Osorio (2013), works at just such a job.
I work at the Chinatown YMCA, as the Teen Director. My job entails providing leadership and personal growth opportunity for middle and high school youth. We have a range of programs that tackle common youth issues and we provide a space to address those issues and create avenues for youth to overcome obstacles, if any, and enhance the strengths as leaders they already have.
What is the broader field of industry in which this work exists?
Youth development/education/advocacy. The industry of bettering peoples lives.
What, in general, do you do as part of this job?
I facilitate and run youth programs, during which we have discussions relevant to current events or historical events, we take the youth on college tours, day trips, they engage in team building activities, & they help coordinate fundraisers and community service events.
What are the pros and cons of this kind of job?
Some of the pros are definitely the Relationships built with the youth and their family members. When they thank you for providing their youth with such opportunity. When you see a youth blossom and grow as a result of their willingness to step outside of their comfort zone. Some of the cons are that not all teens are interested in participating in what you have to offer, retention can be difficult at times, and lastly, sometimes the feeling of wanting more for a participant than they want for themselves.
What skills did you learn as an English major that you use in this job?
Definitely communication and expression. There are many ways to say things and express them. You find out what the personality of an individual is and you cater the way you express yourself to them in a way that will reach them. The art of words, language, and tone.
How have you learned to do this job?
While in college, finishing my English major I was already working with young people and applying some of the thing I learned as an English major in my administrative part of the job – sending emails with proper grammar, writing letters to participants and parents, etc.
How did you get this job?
My current job was a promotion, but in my cover letter I actually mention the advantage I had as an English major and how my skills could easily be applied to efficiently and effective communicate with our constituents.
For current students interested in this line of work, do you have any recommendations on what they can do now to start directing their career path?
Get creative. Use your English major to write a stunning argument as to why you are the ideal candidate for any particular organization in this line of work. Creativity goes a long way with youth development, and language is very important when interacting with youth. Volunteer to work with young people. You can ask to lead workshops on creative writing, or acting/role playing based on your favorite novel or time era. You can lead workshops on basic grammar for youth that may be struggling to pass English courses in high school. Both academic and entertainment work in this industry.