When Claudia Beltran tutored for the East Village Youth Program (EVYP) a couple of years ago, she was impressed by the ambition of the young people she worked with. The EVYP provides tutoring and mentoring youths in Chicago, with the mission of encourage and prepare primarily low-income, Latino youth for a college education. She worked with 5th graders who were already clear about their profession and determined to succeed.
When she took Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program, creating a new way to empower the potential she saw in youths working with the EVYP was a natural fit for her.
“I’m passionate about latinos being productive in the world,” Beltran says.
So she created “Stepping Into Your Shoes”, a project which allowed 30 high school sophomores and juniors to go on a job shadowing day with a professional of their choice. Beltran partnered with e-hispanics.com, a leading Chicago website for the hispanic community, to find a committed group of professionals to support the students. Then she created an April 11th event day where each student would spend 2-4 hours finding out about and actually working in a profession that interested in. For instance, a student that went to a press firm got to write a real press release.
Katherine Moone, EVYP’s program director, said that feedback from the youths was fantastic. In fact, she’s working to make job shadowing events part of EVYP’s regular curriculum. For more information or to get involved with EVYP, go to www.evyp.org.