In early April, due to the uncertainty over how COVID-19 will continue to affect social distancing guidelines, worksite availability, and other circumstances, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio canceled the Summer Youth Employment Program. SYEP provides 75,000 young people—mostly low-income students of color—paid jobs and internships.
In an effort to save the program, students at Teens Take Charge, the youth-led organization fighting for educational integration and equity in NYC public schools and across the city, have created a petition, which already has almost 26,000 supporters. Teens Take Charge is also working with City Council Members and mobilizing students through daily actions.
“During this crisis, SYEP is even more essential for students and families who need money because of the recession and massive unemployment rate as a result of the pandemic,” says Sophie Mode, a press officer at Teens Take Charge. “Many SYEP providers have already said that they can provide virtual jobs or internships to students. We know that there will be necessary budget cuts, but this is not the place to do it.”
Editor’s Note: In our next edition, one college-bound teen writes about the consequences of losing his SYEP job.