City Touts Summer Bridge Program for Teens

City Touts Summer Bridge Program for Teens

Photo Courtesy of DYCD

“SYEP Summer Bridge is exactly that—a pathway this summer between tens of thousands of New York City young people and opportunities to learn, grow, and stay safe and engaged,” DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong said.

By Forum Staff

A $51 million public-private partnership will provide constructive engagement and enrichment activities to keep 35,000 New York City youth active and productive this summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced.

According to the administration, beginning in late July, the SYEP Summer Bridge 2020 program will engage teens in a series of career exploration and project-based learning activities that will help them build their skills and prepare them for their next steps in the fall.

The City noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented an acute challenge for young adults from low-income households, which has been compounded by the shift to remote learning for the last three months of the school year and the cancellation of the Summer Youth Employment Program. De Blasio and City Council announced funding for a total of 115,000 slots in youth and community programs, including SYEP Summer Bridge, to provide young people with enrichment opportunities and safe, engaging activities this summer.

Although SYEP Summer Bridge is distinct from the traditional SYEP, it will leverage the program’s partners and program infrastructure to quickly deliver a valuable experience for participating youth through career exploration, project-based learning and management, and civic engagement skill building. City officials—in partnership with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and with $6M in philanthropic support from the Ford Foundation, Donald A. Pels Foundation, JPB Foundation, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, Jennifer & Jonathan Allan Soros Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, The JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Gray Foundation, The Neuberger Berman Foundation, the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust, and CIT Group—aim to serve approximately 35,000 participants through the program.

According to the administration, Summer Bridge 2020 will offer approximately 60-90 hours of activities over a five-week period. The program will prioritize low-income, justice-involved, foster care, runaway and homeless, NYCHA residents and young adults from communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

All participants will engage in online career exploration through an application developed by Hats & Ladders, a nationally recognized education software provider. This will incorporate online interaction with professionals, including well-known personalities and industry leaders from public service, business, technology, the arts, and more, aligned to participants’ interests.

SYEP Summer Bridge will also feature project-based learning related to community service, COVID-19 recovery, and careers in STEAM, which will be delivered by nonprofit organizations. Some youth will also participate in a “Workplace Challenge,” in which participants work in teams to solve real-world business problems presented to them by private employers, community-based organizations, and government agencies.

“SYEP Summer Bridge is exactly that—a pathway this summer between tens of thousands of New York City young people and opportunities to learn, grow, and stay safe and engaged. I join Mayor de Blasio, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the City Council in thanking our providers and philanthropic partners for helping to make this program a reality,” said Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong.


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