Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Calling All Young Leaders and Change Makers!

As 2013 draws to a close OYE is more than happy to turn its attention to the future, and this means selecting new scholars and planning for the 2014 year. This past weekend the process of preparing for 2014 kicked off in earnest as we interviewed potential OYE Scholars. With board members settled to arrive at the end of this week the tumultuous agenda preparing for next year shows no sign of slowing down. Board members, beneficiaries, and staff will participate in both long and short term planning sessions.

Program Coordinator, Dunia Perdomo, Introduces the first exercise.
This past weekend the organization hosted its first round of interviews for 2014 OYE scholars. In addition to returning OYE scholars, approximately 30 local youth were invited to participate in both
OYE Volunteers Morgan and Alex
observe new applicants with board mem-
ber Walter Molinari (Black t-shirt).
group and individual interviews. For the first time, OYE implemented a dynamic Group element, allowing a diverse committee to evaluate how applicants interacted among their peers. Divided into groups of youth with like ages, the applicants were given challenges and the committee assessed who took leadership roles, who was a good listener, who demonstrated rational thinking or deduction, and what was the general group dynamic. This was the first time that OYE has used such tactics to gain a deeper understanding of how applicants think, function, and transact with their peers.

First time applicants work together
In addition to being a great observational tool, the dynamics gave the applicants a chance to accommodate themselves and gain some confidence before entering the individual interviews. The individual interviews give the applicants an opportunity to express their hopes and aspirations and convey things that one cannot see during a dynamic group activity. As Walter Molinari pointed out, the personal interviews are essential to finding youth with leadership potential, as opposed to those who have already developed a strong sense of leadership and voice. At OYE we are seeking youth with positive attitudes and a desire to make their community a better place, a clear distinction from a competitive drive and take-charge attitude. Walter lauded the individual interviews as a great tool, identifying some of OYE’s greatest leaders like Gerald and Sandra who never would have come across in a group interview.

Activity #1, Applicants collaborate to build
unique model homes
The next phase of the process involves home visits. This allows OYE staff to know where the scholars live and meet their families. Vice versa the families of OYE scholars have the chance to meet OYE staff. Both sides arrive to a better understanding of the other. Information is confirmed and OYE has the chance to develop a personal relationship with its community. (This is by far my favorite part of the process.)

All in all the process is evolving and offers a well-rounded perspective on aspiring OYE scholars. The applicants this year have been inspiring. It is so hard to select the ones that
Applicants work as pitch team, selling
their model home to OYE
will receive OYE scholarships, but as our programs expand  we can realistically offer each and every applicant the chance to benefit from OYE’s Leadership and Capacity Building classes and participate in OYE youth-led community outreach programs.

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