EDCOE's Foster Youth Summer Employment Program: Empowering Youth for Success
14:30 PM - July 24, 2023
In a true testament to innovation, the El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE) has empowered 10 transitional-age youth with invaluable internship experience and professional skills this summer. Since its establishment in 2009, this annual program has been a catalyst for providing meaningful employment opportunities, training, and guidance to the youth.
Gratitude was expressed by Sheila Silan, the Foster Youth Services Program Coordinator at EDCOE, as she acknowledged the unwavering support of employers and partnering agencies. Silan emphasized, "We deeply appreciate the invaluable assistance our employers and partnering agencies provided, without whom this program would not be possible."
The internship commenced with an immersive week-long soft skills training session hosted at Folsom Lake College's El Dorado Center. Behavioral health and youth specialists facilitated engaging sessions, covering essential topics such as time management, problem-solving, building healthy relationships, conflict resolution, stress management, and more. Additionally, the interns actively participated in workshops organized by the Golden Sierra Job Training Agency and the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency, focusing on resume writing, interviewing skills, effective communication, and health awareness, including substance abuse education.
The impact of the program rippled further as the interns embarked on their respective worksites, collaborating with organizations such as Boys and Girls Club - Western Slope, Exhilaration Station, El Dorado County HEAP, El Dorado County Senior Services, Dirty Dog Groomers, Demtech, Northern California Construction Training (NCCT), and EDCOE: Facilities, Early Learning and Family Support (ELFS), and Curriculum, Instruction & Accountability (CI&A) teams. Throughout the program, support was extended to the interns and their families, encompassing nutritious lunches and financial assistance for appropriate work attire.
The resounding success of the summer foster youth internship program hinges on the collaboration of various local agencies and small businesses. Lawrence Divinagracia, Program Manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Sierra, joyfully shared his experience working with one of the interns. "During his time with us, he provided invaluable assistance with answering phones, creating mailers, contacting families, and more. Witnessing his growth in terms of people skills and confidence was truly gratifying. He displayed a genuine thirst for knowledge that would benefit his career. He also formed personal connections with us, which had a significant impact," remarked Divinagracia.
The journey culminated with a heartwarming celebratory luncheon at EDCOE, attended by Dr. Ed Manansala, El Dorado County Superintendent of Schools. Each intern was honored with a certificate of completion, a letter of reference, and a polished resume - tangible evidence of their dedication and achievements. Dr. Manansala expressed, “I am deeply thankful to Sheila, her exceptional team, our agency partners, and the dedicated community leaders for their unwavering commitment to offering these young individuals transformative opportunities to acquire knowledge, contribute, and unlock their boundless potential."
Also, at the luncheon, a proud father of two 11th-grade interns remarked, “I’m very proud of my boys. Both have done immense work growing their professional and social skills. This opportunity would not be possible without EDCOE’s involvement. Thank you.”
For more information about this transformative program and the array of services EDCOE offers, please visit www.edcoe.org. Let's continue empowering youth for a future filled with success and promise.
From left to Right: Big Brother & Big Sisters of Northern Sierra’s Nick Walsh, Lawrence Divinagracia, and Juan Nunez.