This March, we are celebrating Ever’s 11th year of work at the Ithaca Youth Bureau. Ever started out with Youth Employment Service as a seasonal YES Rep in the summer of 2011 before moving into a full-time role. They have now been the coordinator of the YES program since 2015.
Ever has known they wanted to work with teenagers for most of their life, though they started out on a more traditional education route. Ever attended Ithaca College studying Music Education and realized at graduation that a different approach to helping and teaching teens was more their style. “I sort of stumbled into my work with YES, but it was the perfect fit,” they said.
“If the YES Program didn’t exist, teens would still get jobs. But which teens? And what jobs?” Ever says.
“The YES Program provides a really unique experience that seeks to make the job search process less competitive, more equitable, and also connects teens with a much wider diversity of work opportunities than they would have on their own. As adults, we spend most of our working lives trying to fit ourselves into the mold of a position’s qualifications— YES is one of the rare times where a group of people try to mold a job around a teen’s strengths, skills, and needs.
Through the YES Program, Ever has been able to really harness their passion for teaching and learning with the needs and learning styles of teens. “I love working with teenagers. They are eager and motivated to learn about it in a way they might not be about school. And since they are always at the beginning of their working journey, I feel like we have real, valuable information and guidance to give them.” The impact of the YES Program and Ever and their team can be felt across the community. Youth Employment Service has been a part of the Ithaca community for over 50 years and Ever says after 10 years working with the program, it’s hard to go anywhere without bumping into a current or former YES Teen.
“My favorite moments are always the ones where I see a former YES teen thriving in their adult life,” Ever says. “Recently we had an alumni of our leadership program, Youth Council Ambassadors, speak to the current members of the group as an adult guest. Seeing him being able to offer his wisdom to the next generation of youth leaders was incredibly inspiring.”
The Youth Bureau is happy to celebrate 11 years with Ever and is grateful for the work that they have done to help teens in the greater Ithaca community.