Students Return to Urban Neighborhoods to Work with Teens

Article excerpt

For many Cornell students, last summer's vacation meant relaxing at the beach. For a dozen intrepid minority students from New York City, however, summer meant working for pay in their old neighborhoods as interns in a special program to enrich the literary skills of local children and teenagers.

The New York City Youth to Youth Literary Program, sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension/New York City, supported twelve Cornell students in programs ranging from developing a video, a newsletter, and a farmers' market to enhancing nutrition materials, raising AIDS awareness, and working as teaching assistants at a summer camp with a medieval theme for low-income children. Nine of the students were from the College of Human Ecology.

The programs were primarily based in Harlem, Highbridge in the Bronx, and the South Bronx.

"Many of the students worked in the same neighborhoods they grew up in or in a nearby neighborhood," says Kevin Hendrickson, a junior majoring in human service studies, who headed up the summer intern project. "They all wanted to bring something back to their old neighborhoods from their Cornell education."

In the Highbridge area, for example, the Cornell students worked with local teens on reporting, writing, editing, and producing a newsletter; researching, scriptwriting, editing, videotaping, and editing a video on curbing sex, drugs, and violence; AIDS awareness; and the project New Farmers/New Markets, which paved the way for upstate farmers to sell their fresh produce in city neighborhoods where they had never before done business. …