Working together for youth success
Young people in Wareham will soon have a new resource for exploring career paths, and preparing for the future, thanks to the work of Jowaun Gamble and the Community Youth Empowerment group.
Beginning on March 1, the group will host workshops for students in grades 8 to 12 to give them important life skills, and exposure to different careers to help them decide on their next step after high school.
Gamble said the first session will be devoted to professionalism, and cover subjects ranging from how to do well in a job interview, to a hands-on lesson on how to tie a tie.
The free workshops will then continue every other Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club in Wareham.
Gamble said that future sessions will cover a wide variety of topics including advice on financial literacy, such as how to establish credit, or open a bank account. He added that he hopes these lessons will help prepare teenagers for things that many young adults had to learn on their own.
“It’s all the things that we just weren’t educated on,” he said.
He also said that he plans to bring in guest speakers to discuss “real life things” like incarceration and mental health. For Gamble, the goal of these types of conversations isn’t a “scared straight tactic,” but more about acknowledging harsh realities, and encouraging positivity and healthy lifestyles.
Gamble currently works in Boston’s Youth Opportunities Unlimited program, which gives second chances to court-involved youth through community service, and educational workshops that help them transition to internships, and private-sector jobs.
Gamble holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Bridgewater State University, and said that these types of diversion programs are beneficial because they offer a more rehabilitative form of correction, as opposed to incarceration.
When asked about what it is like to bring a new program to his hometown, Gamble said “it feels good to be back...it feels good to know that I’m making some impact on people’s lives.”
He also said that “there's a lot of stigma with Wareham teenagers, and it’s pretty much negative. My goal is to change that.”
As Community Youth Empowerment grows, Gamble said he hopes that it will become a high school credit recovery, or even a diversion program similar to the one he works for in Boston.
Although the program was his idea initially, he wasn’t alone in making it a reality.
Gamble is the Program Director for Community Youth Empowerment, and has assembled a team of Assistant Program Director Michael Mendes, Social and Community Administrator Brianna Gamble, Director of Resource and Advocacy Brianna King, Director of Youth Development Ashley Hachey, Community Outreach Coordinator Darien Fernandez, and Communication Coordinator Kamri Lopes.
While they come from different backgrounds, the team of Wareham locals are all college graduates who are dedicated to helping young people. Wareham High School senior Jasmine Black is also contributing to the group as an intern.
For more information, or to sign up for workshops, email Gamble at email@example.com.
Community Youth Empowerment will also be present at the Wareham High School Alumni Basketball game on Feb. 8 to inform people about the program, and offer young people a chance to sign up.