The Breakwater Youth Corps (BYC) is an opportunity for alumni and eligible current students and other high school-aged students to work together at Breakwater during the summer to provide service to the school, develop and foster important skills, and, if applicable, earn a minimum wage income. This program offers a great way for our alums and qualified current students to give back and stay connected to our community, as well as learn how we keep our facilities maintained, safe and beautiful.
The BYC program will run through the summer in five sessions. Each session is a two week commitment where volunteers will work 10:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week. The last Friday on each session designated as a fun day, where Volunteers will go on trip to places like Fun Town Splash Town as a reward for their work.
- Session 1: Tuesday June 27- Thursday, July (4th of July off). Friday July 7th Fun Day.
- Session 2: Tuesday July 11- Thursday July 20. Friday July 21 Fun Day.
- Session 3: Tuesday July 25 - Thursday August 3. Friday August 4 Fun Day.
- Session 4: Tuesday August 8 - Thursday August 13. Friday August 18 Fun Day.
- Session 5: Tuesday August 22 - Thursday August 31. Friday September 1 Fun Day.
Interested students and alumni please contact Harley Waters.
It started with the wood chips.
Then fifth grader Emily Damon (Class of 2012) noticed a pile on the playground that needed moving and offered to help. After this, there was the edging around the baseball field that needed to be done. She was showing up, working hard, and doing jobs that clearly benefited her community, but she wasn’t being paid.
“Work was just something I did without the idea of reciprocity,” remembers Emily.
However, David Sullivan had other ideas. Seeing an opportunity to empower youth with real responsibility, and help them develop and demonstrate core readiness skills including time management, problem solving, stewardship, citizenship, self-motivation, and more, David offered Emily a job. Then they invited Michael Jones (Class of 2011) to join her. A few years later the program was formalized under the name Breakwater Youth Corps (BYC).
Those first summers it was just Emily, Michael, David, a few paint brushes and a hammer. But at Breakwater, we have a growth mindset. We adapt to embrace opportunities and evolve to make our programs better.
Five years after its student initiated inception, middle school teacher Jed Bloom helped to expand the BYC to welcome a wider age range and refined the perimeters to enhance the educational and social benefits. Under the paid mentorship of knowledgeable BYC veterans newer Breakwater alumni volunteers can now learn skills that will allow them to carry on the Youth Corps tradition - as well as gain valuable experience of their own.
Ample research indicates that summer youth employment programs have positive and significant effects on academic outcomes, as well noncognitive skills like accountability, perseverance, and self-confidence.
Michael Jones, still an active volunteer at Breakwater, recognizes these benefits, and appreciates the opportunity to give back to the community in which he grew up. “Other people appreciate when you give back. They offer support and help when they know you are a responsible person. People developed trust in me.”
As the early members of the program move on through college and carry their skills to new arenas, Emily, Michael and their colleagues tell us that the next step is to bring the BYC out into our greater community.
“Everyone’s helping everyone. Breakwater gives to us - we give to Breakwater - Breakwater gives to the community - that gives to us.”
It’s an example of how to live well on the planet, a lasting lesson core to the Breakwater mission. And, they make a little money along the way - an earned reward for work well done.