March 2011 - Parks & Recreation - 24

Who, What, Where & how Around the Parks

H o w We D id I t

Winning Summers
Sacramento's summer youth program works for parks and kids
By Hilary Harkins

D

uring an eight-week
span in the summer of
2010, 33 members of the
Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)
collaborated closely with each other
and worked tirelessly to positively impact their surrounding community in
Sacramento, California. The SYEP provided high-risk high school students with
income and tools to succeed in life, increased facilities and programming opportunities at Howe Park, and inspired
and strengthened community. Students
invested their time learning occupational, employment, and social skills leading
to personal growth and community service. Through the combined efforts and
partnership of the Sacramento County
Office of Education (SCOE), Sacramento Employment and Training Agency
(SETA), and Fulton-El Camino Recreation and Park District (FEC), this program was made possible and achieved
multifaceted success.

How It Came Together
The formation of this program required intense planning and coordination. In April
2009, SETA awarded SCOE LINKS Student Programs' proposal for a Community
Service and Neighborhood Beautification
Program, called the SYEP, with American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Stimulus
Funds for two summer programs (2009
and '10). During the second year of funding, SCOE had its experienced management team in place and more lead-time to
focus on a larger project. Last February,
SCOE SYEP coordinators approached
FEC with an opportunity to partner.

22	 Parks & Recreation      M A R C H

A summer well spent: The staff and participants of Sacramento's Summer Youth
Employment Program hope to repeat their success in 2011.

FEC and SCOE worked closely to
identify " shovel-ready " service learning
projects. Pinpointing the skills and materials needed, and sequencing task activities to accomplish the projects was tricky
at times. After months of planning and
project refinement, FEC and SCOE finalized five projects: a small dog park; informational kiosks; patio benches; bench,
bridge, and picnic table refinishing; and
parking-lot median re-landscaping. In
eight weeks much needed improvements
to Howe Park were completed at minimal cost to FEC. SETA awarded $100,169
for this SYEP, $46,169 for program management and supportive services and

2 0 1 1       w w w . N R P A . O R G

$54,000 for student wages. SCOE LINKS
program contributed in-kind services
valued at $14,000 for a teacher and additional supervision. FEC provided $16,122
for materials, equipment rental support,
and staff assistance.
Participation in this SYEP was fiercely competitive. The hiring process included eligibility, certification, and panel
interviews. In April and May 2010 outreach and recruitment events took place
at SCOE Court, Community Schools, and
Special Education campuses. Approximately 80 applicants produced 45 certifications, with 34 hires and 33 students
reporting for work on the first day.



March 2011 - Parks & Recreation

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