Education and Employment
The Education & Employment Program provides youth with the tools and resources necessary for meeting their educational and professional goals. This includes job readiness prep, workforce development opportunities, a youth internship program, and pathways to college enrollment or vocational training. SPY's Community Garden is also a part of this program and provides members with an engaging outdoor enviornment that highlights food justice, community building, and seed-to-table farming.
Education and employment are significant barriers for youth trying to exit the street. Safe Place for Youth’s (SPY) Education and Employment program provides resume building, mock interviewing, life skills workshops, job and education application guidance, and networking opportunities through a trauma-informed, three-tiered approach.
Participation in the first stage, pre-employment exploration, gives youth an opportunity to engage in projects that interest them. This includes participation SPY Community Garden drop-in workshops and Garden Days, the Digital Arts Lab (through our Healing Arts program), career information sessions, self-exploration workshops and company tours. Once a young person is ready and motivated, they can transition into the job readiness stage, working directly with our Education and Employment team to build a resume, engage in mock interviews and network at career fairs. This leads to the third stage, supportive employment. After a young person successfully obtains a job or acceptance into a school, our staff continues to support each individual throughout their education or employment journey.
This program is an important step in the process of a homeless youth making their way towards a stable life away from the streets. We aim to continue to expand the services we offer so that we can make the greatest impact possible on each young person that comes through the door.
- John Muir Charter School
SPY is proud to partner with John Muir Charter School and Venice YouthBuild to provide youth with the opportunity to work towards their HiSET and/or high school diploma. John Muir Charter School works with each student individually, allowing them to move past negative experiences they may have had in the past. In December 2018, we celebrated 4 SPY graduates!
- SPY Community Garden
The SPY Community Garden program is designed to show youth experiencing homelessness the principles of building community and food security while cultivating, distributing, and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables from a self-reliant garden. Guided by tenants of food equity and community engagement, the SPY Community Garden is committed to growing food and distributing as much of it as possible to the youth we serve. We also welcome our unhoused neighbors to harvest food in the garden, and provide educational workshops, and open volunteering days for those who wish to contribute to this community space.
Made possible by a partnership with Food for the Soul, Beyond Baroque, and SPARC, the SPY Garden program consists of our Drop-In center container garden and a community garden off-site on Venice Blvd. Skill-based, garden workshops take place during Drop-In hours and allow youth to engage with the container garden at our Drop-In center. Workshop topics include planting, worm bin cultivation, and succulent propagation, as well as balm/salve-making, jam-making, and bouquet making. The garden on Venice Blvd. enables SPY to offer supportive employment opportunities through our Youth Internship Program as well as Youth Garden Days, Community Garden Days, and quarterly Community Farm Dinners.
Lastly, the SPY Garden program is site of a social enterprise. At the Youth Farmer’s Market, plants, youth-made products and art, and produce will be for sale to the community. In collaboration with the Healing Arts Program, these products will be for sale online through the Color of Hope Collective. Through this endeavor, youth experiencing homelessness will gain paid work experience, have the opportunity to engage with community members, and practice their entrepreneurial skills.
- SPY Internship Program
SPY is very excited to offer onsite and offsite Youth Internship opportunities as part of our supportive employment program! Internships provide the opportunity for valuable professional development in the context of a real employment experience. To support growth during their employment experience, Youth Interns participate in paid professional development activities, which include Education & Employment workshops, college campus visits, and job fairs. During the last week of their internships, each youth intern works with our Education & Employment Specialist to update their resume, participate in a mock interview and apply for their next employment opportunity.
SPY Youth Interns work onsite in the SPY Garden and Healing Arts program as well as with a growing number of external partners. We are excited to partner with House of G&C and The Book Truck to offer additional internship opportunities. If your organization would be interested in hosting a youth intern from SPY, please contact Mel Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.