Boston, Massachusetts (PressExposure) November 12, 2009 -- MetLife Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance today honored the Brigham and Women's Hospital's Student Success Jobs Program (SSJP) with an Afterschool Innovator Award in recognition of the program's success in opening the path to careers in health care, science and medicine for high school students, through paid internships at the hospital. MetLife Managing Director David Murphy presented the Award at a Lights On Afterschool event, held at Brigham and Women's Hospital. The organization received $5,000 to sustain its work.
"Despite the many benefits of afterschool programs, far too many youth in middle and high school do not have access to high quality programs during these critical hours," said Dennis White, president of MetLife Foundation. "We are pleased to join the Afterschool Alliance in recognizing the Student Success Jobs Program's exemplary model of addressing the needs and interests of older youth, which helps put them on the path to success."
The Student Success Jobs Program is one of only six afterschool programs nationwide to be named an Afterschool Innovator. It was highlighted in an Issue Brief on afterschool programs, part of a series developed by the Afterschool Alliance with funding from MetLife Foundation, that examines critical issues facing older youth, schools and communities, and the role that afterschool programs play in addressing these issues. The brief focused on several critical areas, including opening doors to work and careers, where SSJP was highlighted.
"These students are talented, enthusiastic and serious about making a distinctive contribution to the field of healthcare and science" said Michelle Keenan, director of Community Programs at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Brigham and Women's is committed to them and to the patient care and research contributions these young people will make in the future. With workforce development programs like this, everyone wins."
The Lights On Afterschool event coincided with the beginning of orientation and training for a new class of students in the program. Speakers from Brigham and Women's Hospital described the impact of the program on youth, families, and the community. Gladys Fashote, an SSJP alumnus, reflected on her experience and her hopes for the future, and alumnus Nasha Lee Bailey performed. Other alumni also talked about the life and job skills they acquired through the program and the significance of SSJP in their lives.
Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide rally for afterschool programs. The event in Boston is one of more than 7,500 being held across the country, during which children, parents, community leaders, educators and others meet with leaders show support for the afterschool programs that children and families need. The events also give youth a chance to showcase the skills they learn and talents they develop at their afterschool programs, and to send the message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs.
"Afterschool programs provide children with unique opportunities to get the exposure, experiences and support they need to achieve success," said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. "The Afterschool Innovator Awards honor programs that have developed and are using promising practices to help children and youth excel."
Related Links: 50 Graduate from SSJP, BWH Bulletin