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Learning Ambassadors 2013

Work in a World of Ideas

Learning Ambassadors is a youth employment project that engages teens in the experience of work in the 21st Century - where it is essential to navigate a world of ideas that are constructed and shared in multiple media and in dialog across diverse communities. Teens in this program acquire critical academic and workforce skills as part of their training to advance the goals of public library Summer Reading programs throughout Westchester County. Through their work, teens are ambassadors to their families, peers, and broader community for the fun and power of libraries and literacy.

Now in its 7th year, the 2013 Learning Ambassadors program offers selected 9th and 10th grade students seven weeks of paid summer work experience in a local public library. In preparation for their work, teens participate in several pre-session workshops and volunteer at least ten hours during the school year. Working with a librarian-mentor, teens will be trained to develop, promote, and deliver programs that engage reading, math and digital literacies. Program types are diverse, from parent/child and bi-lingual storytelling and film discussions, to science experiments and math games, to group craft and video projects. Learning Ambassador training and mentored, hands-on work experience offers teens:

  • Opportunities to build self-confidence, work as a team with adults and other Learning Ambassadors, and demonstrate leadership.
  • Training in skills that support academic success as well as near-term employment; specifically, critical thinking to inform program design, planning, communication, and marketing, as well as program specific skills such as storytelling, discussion facilitation, and crafts
  • Insight into the working environment of careers in education, child care, and librarianship
  • Encouragement and support in college exploration and persistence in higher education.

For our communities, Learning Ambassadors is an enrichment of libraries’ summer reading effort that provides meaningful work experiences for Westchester County teenagers by allowing them to learn and lead. It responds directly to the wish of every community to have their teens become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible.

This program is supported in part by Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Further support is provided by the TD Charitable Foundation and Wheelabrator Westchester. Read the press release about TD Charitable Foundation's grant.

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