The Friday Notebook – Sample Program
.Calling, Learning, and Contribution – a Friday Notebook program in an urban partnership, creating career and workforce development opportunities for young adults.
Mayraliz is learning art and restoration techniques.
She is building work readiness skills in a paid summer job. She is also contributing to the city’s architectural legacy – and she is developing communication skills that are vital to building a career.
Mayraliz is one of a dozen youths, ages 14 to 21, who participate in a city-wide partnership. In the mornings, the crew learns job readiness skills. In the afternoons, they learn art restoration skills through hands-on creation of murals that will raise public support for restoring the City Hall’s secular stained glass windows. And through a Friday Notebook project, they explore writing as a tool for learning and livelihood.
Friday Notebooks begin with identity:
Who am I, and what’s important to me? We begin by tapping the stories of participants’ worlds. Punctuation doesn’t matter. Spelling doesn’t matter. The story is what matters. Stories are directly linked to imagination – and in imagination lies possibility.
Strengths emerge: What’s working in this piece, what do you remember? Members share and respond to each other’s writing – and through this collaborative process, they begin to identify and build on writing skills that each participant already brings to the table.
Craft emerges: How can I say this so others will understand? The desire to communicate brings a natural curiosity about grammar, sentence structure, and vocabulary. Exploring the crafting side of writing begins, along with the formats that will move them forward in the work world.
How does writing connect with employment?
Motivation – deep and enduring motivation – comes from inside. It comes through the experiences and the surprises and the values embedded in the stories that participants share. Members develop a deeper sense of agency, of their ability to engage the world with their strengths, and of their ability to communicate with increased skills and confidence.
Participants in this project gained work skills, crafting skills, and a capacity to identify and communicate their strengths in the work world.
They developed a greater sense of agency, of their ability to create paths into employment and adulthood. Their experience with the program’s collaborative approach to learning translates directly into team work on the job.
And there are the murals: a vibrant reminder of the city’s 200-year legacy – and a reflection of the youths whose skills and words engage the community every day.
“I loved it. I made friends and I was able to learn some English” – Yashira, 17