Learning to Learn, Learning to Teach: A Hopeworks Youth Trainer


You’re in a classroom watching the clock, but the minute hand never moves.  Your classmates are texting under the desk,  looking out the windows - and is that girl sleeping? Up front, a teacher drones.

At Hopeworks youth learn to a different beat. Our motto is “Learning to Learn.”   In literacy, technology training, and formation, Hopeworks youth take an active role in their own learning:  thinking critically, solving problems, and figuring out what and how to learn in order to achieve their dreams.  
A vital part of this process is engaging youth in a learning community in which youth encourage and assist other youth.  This happens spontaneously every day at Hopeworks, and now we are piloting an exciting new internship: Youth Trainer.  The Youth Trainer is a highly qualified youth who has completed the technology training and created a website from scratch in the grueling Production Test.  After passing a series of interviews and a drug test, the Youth Trainer assists Hopeworks youth in th
e training room with Internet Basics, HTML, Photoshop, and CSS. The Youth Trainer also works to cultivate a spirit of hard work, professionalism, and Learning to Learn.

Jakeel Johnson is the first youth to hold this internship.  We asked him about his work:
AP: What made youu want to be Youth trainer?
JJ: I like helping people.  I know the training and enjoy helping people learn to learn.  I do enjoy building websites, but I don’t see myself doing that as an internship.

AP: What do you do?
JJ: I make sure the room is going as smooth as it can be, and everybody is doing what they’re supposed to be doing, I just give help to my fellow trainees.  I want to make the training as easy as possible for them. 

AP: What is the hardest part about this job?
JJ: Not getting frustrated - when I’m helping somebody and they’re also frustrated and I don’t know the answer to their problem.  What do you do when that happens?  I take a time out and go back to the training, or [go to] someone who’s passed it, and they give me some type of ideas about it. 

AP: Do you ever have to calm people down?
JJ: All the time.  I know what they feel - I know what all the frustration is, I feel their pain. 

AP: What are some of the ways you calm them down?
JJ: I talk to them and tell them it’s not that serious. I tell them we’ll work through it and get past it.  The more you’re frustrated the harder it will be.  If you get mad you'll end up quitting.

AP:  What is the part of being a Youth Trainer you like the best?
JJ:  Just helping - to see how happy they are when they pass the exercise. 

AP:  Is working with Day trainees different from working with Hope Through School Youth?
JJ: Yes.  Because Day trainees are mature and take the work seriously.  HTS is serious but they do fall off sometimes, and you have to get them back on track.  With Day all you have to do is talk to them one time and they get back on track.

AP:  Is there any way that being Youth Trainer helps you achieve your dreams?
JJ:  Running it - I’m trying to open my own restaurant and I know I have to run my own business.  Being Youth Trainer gives me that confidence and authority - it’s helping my authority.

AP:  What advice would you give to the next Youth Trainer?
JJ:  I hope they like the job as much as I do.

AP:  Is there anything else you’d like to add?
JJ:  I just like being a Youth Trainer.


Join us on Sunday, March 2 for our annual Roll for Hope held in Pinsetter in Pennsauken, NJ and sponsored by Beneficial Bank!  Come on out and bowl with Hopeworks' trainees, volunteers, staff, family, friends and donors.  Enter as a single bowler or gather together a group and compete as a team.  This event is our spring fundraiser and all proceeds benefit Hopeworks' programs and services like Jakeel's internship outlined above.  Registration is now open!  Unable to join us?  Please sponsor a Hopeworks' trainee for the event.


How You Can Help....

There are several ways you can help youth like Jakeel for his DREAMS at Hopeworks.

* Become a monthly donor and contribute $25, $50, $75  or anything you can.  Monthly giving is easy and your gift will help each and every month.
* Make a one-time gift.
* Volunteer in our literacy program or become an E-mentor. 
* Hire us and our trainees to build and host your website or lean about how Salesforce can help your business thrive.
* Attend an upcoming special eventRoll for Hope is March 2 and the Golf Classic is May 13.
* Contact us to arrange a tour and learn more about who we are and who we do.
* Like us on Facebook and give a shout out to Jakeel and all the other trainees as they work toward their DREAMS.


Our mission at Hopeworks is to empower youth to develop their D.R.E.A.M.S. (Dynamic Realizable Efforts to Attain and Maintain Success) by expanding learning opportunities available to them through technology training in a safe, respectful and celebratory atmosphere.  We exist to create hope-filled futures for inner-city Camden youth and help them own their future.  We do this by: training our youth in state of the art computer applications, web site design, geographic information systems (GIS), computer networking and repair and video; expanding learning opportunities available to them; enhancing their self-esteem through real-world jobs; working together to identify their dreams; and helping them to be successful and self-sufficient.

Hopeworks 'N Camden
543 State Street
Camden, NJ 08102