Dedham’s Youth Commission is gearing up for a busy spring and summer, launching new programs and expanding old ones.
Youth Commission Director Robert Blaney hopes to capitalize on momentum from being selected as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People in 2012 by America’s Promise Alliance.
Blaney, who keeps one of the large signs donated to Dedham by America’s Promise Alliance in front of his desk, hopes the town will be recognized again in 2013.
Blaney’s programs are focused on letting youth have fun, but also to think about their future.
“Too many kids hear that you go to middle school, then you go to high school, then you go to college, and then you start to think for yourself,” Blaney said. “Our goal is to get them to start thinking for themselves now.”
Through a “Jog for Jobs” event on May 4, Blaney will raise money and make connections with local businesses to sponsor paid summer internships for Dedham Youth.
Blaney is encouraging business owners to raise $500 and assemble a team to jog at the Dedham High School track from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day.
Internships will be from July 8 to Aug. 2 for five hours a day, five days a week, Blaney said. He hopes that some of the businesses who jog will not only sponsor the internships, but provide them as well.
“That is a win-win situation for everyone,” he said.
Dedham Savings Bank, Dedham TV, and the Dedham selectmen have already committed to putting together teams, according to Blaney.
In addition to providing some summer work, Blaney is set to begin a program with middle school students called the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. The program will help youth think of how to start their own businesses, he said.
Details for that program have yet to be released, he said.
The Youth Commission is also continuing the College Bound and RISE programs.
Begun last summer, the College Bound program is for seventh grade students about to enter eighth grade. The program is split up into three weeks – the first week students live in dorms at Regis College in Weston, the second week students visit colleges around New England, and the third week students go on job shadows.
The job shadow component is new this year, according to Blaney.
The RISE program is for either graders going into ninth grade, and is designed to help students academically make the transition into high school.
Located at Dedham High School, the program features a writing course, math course, college and career awareness workshops, social workshops, and recreational activities.
Both the RISE and College Bound programs are free, but both have limited enrollment – 40 for RISE and 25 for College Bound.
Finally, the Youth Commission is teaming up with Dedham TV to offer activities at the Dedham TV studios once per month, starting in April.
The April event, held April 5 from 6:30 to 9 p.m., will be a “Best band in the land” contest. Dedham middle and high school bands can compete for cash prizes, with first place taking home $300, second place $200, and third place $100.
For more information on the Youth Commission programs or to register, contact Blaney at 781 326 3120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.