While many young people in Madison have struggled with social events being canceled and sports postponed, some youth have looked to devote their newfound free time to bettering their community.
Several organizations in Madison, including "Root to Rise" and the Goodman Community Center, worked overtime this past summer to provide work for young adults looking to learn skills at local gardens, kitchens and community internship positions.
“I’m grateful to our five partner organizations that will provide positive activities for youth this fall, and benefit our community as a whole,” Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a press release. “I encourage our entire community to join the City in supporting opportunities for young people to be employed, gain experience, and give back to their community.”
The Bayview Giving Garden, another one of the participating organizations, received special recognition for their summer employment programming designed to meet the needs of the teens based on their interests.
"The Bayview Giving Garden and Community Arts Program did a stellar job engaging our youth this summer,” said Alder Tag Evers. “Providing positive experiences in this critical time can be life-changing and I'm very pleased we're able to continue these programs into the fall."
Rhodes-Conway announced the $99,500 in contract expansions through the Community Development Division on Sept. 9 to fund youth employment taking place this fall.
At a mayoral press briefing on Thursday, Community Development Specialist Hugh Wing discussed the city’s continued financial support of the youth employment program.
“Youth wanting to work have often found the availability [only] to some or not possible,” Wing said. “Youth employment remains a priority to the city, even during the pandemic. We’re looking to be creative and add more funds to this area.”
Wing stated that programs were able to offer in-person, virtual and hybrid positions over the summer, and they now hope to do the same this fall, employing up to 80 young adults with a majority of the fund going directly to youth wages.
Wing also expressed excitement for the Mayor’s announcement, saying “We are keen to see more opportunities as the youth are looking for more than virtual engagements.”