Grant helps students say YES! to career paths

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Thanks to MOSAICO and the National Grid Foundation, the potential futures of six Mt. Hope High School students just got a little brighter.

On Tuesday, July 22, the YES! Program received a $5,000 grant from the National Grid Foundation to help students in the program get real-life experience in career paths they want to explore. For three weeks over the summer, the students will engage in paid internships 10 hours a week in occupations such as law enforcement, emergency medical technician, art and public speaking.

MOSAICO, a non-profit organization, applied for the grant on behalf of the YES! Program.

“We’ve always been about community development,” said Diana Campbell, executive director of MOSAICO. “Helping them with jobs is what we think of as community development and helps them be successful in the long run.”

For the students, getting the experience is a tremendous value to them as they ready themselves for the “real world”.

“I wish there were more programs for youth like this so you can explore different jobs that you think you’d like,” said Danah Sullivan, a student at Mt. Hope.

Her interest in becoming a paramedic was sparked by her uncle who is a Bristol volunteer fire fighter. For her, the idea of working in a field in which you directly help another person in a critical time of need would bring her both professional and personal satisfaction.

“I don’t want to sit at a desk,” she said.

Likewise, Alex Pacheco hopes to become a police officer and bridge the gap between youth and police. In some instances, he’s seen a disconnect and distrust between the two groups.

“It shouldn’t be like that. I want to help fix that,” he said.

Over the summer program, Nick Natale is looking forward to enhancing his artistic skills. Already accomplished at drawing portraits, he wants to continue his pursuit of the arts and gain the insight that will help him use his talent in a career.

As National Grid Foundation President Robert Keller spoke with the students and offered insights into the sometimes indirect career paths that many take toward their ultimate goal, Mt. Hope student Christian Torres may have found his career path.

“I’m a talker. I want to be a motivational speaker,” he said.

Mr. Keller offered this advice: “To find what you’re really good at and what you really like is the goal,” he said.

The YES! Program is run at Mt. Hope High School by Colleen Powers. She works with students to help them succeed academically and in life outside of school. The grant money and those willing to offer their professional guidance in the students’ career exploration is valuable to the students, she said.

“They take it personally,” Ms. Powers said. “They want to succeed.”

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.