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“Neighborhood trains future pediatrician”

August 12, 2010

Hello my name is Thalia and I work at Baker Center on St. Paul’s West Side as a Youth Apprentice.  The Youth Apprenticeship Project is a job program for youth to get into the community for the summer.

At Baker Center, I work with the Jane Addams School for Democracy which is a school where mostly immigrants come to study for their citizenship test or just to study and learn English as a second language. What I do is work with the kids, mostly doing arts and crafts. I also am a part of the teen circle where we are working on a multicultural project that has to do with the different cultures on the West Side and how they influence everyone.

Another thing that I do at Baker Center is help run the preschool open gym which takes place every Friday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. We do arts and crafts in one room and have the gym open to the families. I think it’s a wonderful way for parents to spend time with their younger kids during the week. During the preschool open gym time we have started a free clothing exchange where people can come in and get free used clothes or bring in their own old—but still in good shape—clothes. The clothing exchange also happens every other Wednesday during the time that Jane Addams School meets, which is even better because a lot of the participants do take home clothes.

Preschool open time at Baker Center

This job is preparing me for the future because I want to be a pediatrician and I have to be able to work with and be able to communicate with children. I really do like this job and I have a lot of great people here by my side that support me through everything, even if it’s the littlest thing.

This is my third year as a Youth Apprentice and I love it.  This work really impacts the community because anyone on the West Side that is between the ages of 14 and 18 can sign up for the program. If you are from a low income family it really helps a lot even if it’s just for the summer.

Editor’s note: The Youth Apprenticeship Project is coordinated by staff of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship as part of the West Side Neighborhood Learning Community. The center also plays a lead role incoordinating the Jane Addams School for Democracy.

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