This special blog comes to you from Juwan Stone, who, with Kylah Bruno and Hyisheem Calier, served as a member of the High Line Youth Corps last year. Hired in partnership with Hudson Guild through a job-training program called Power-Up!, the High Line Youth Corps worked and learned with nearly every department at Friends of the High Line during their time at the park.
Have you ever jumped up to go to work? Not because you were late, but because you couldn't wait to get to work?
That's the feeling I get from working at the High Line. I have been working here since last July. I was hired along with two other teens, Hyisheem Calier and Kylah Bruno, from the Chelsea neighborhood. We were hired by an organization in the Chelsea community called Hudson Guild.
Working at the High Line has been a magnificent experience because there are so many to things to learn. I thought that it would be like any other summer job, where it would just be coming in to do work and going home, nothing more or nothing less, but working with Friends of the High Line has been like being with family. Everyone here cares about what I think and my ideas. I have worked with almost every department that the High Line has, and it has been a blast. Whether it was weeding plants with the gardeners or keeping the High Line tidy with the custodians, the experience was memorable.
One of the most exciting moments was when Hyisheem, Kylah, and I gave a tour to a group of high school students from England. I think I speak on behalf of Youth Corps when I say when someone asks us a question, they don’t leave with an answer, but with a story. During the tour, my two favorite things to talk about were how it used to be, and why it is elevated. Before the High Line was a park, it was used for cargo trains to transport goods. The High Line was built as an elevated track because the trains that ran on the streets were killing people, including children.
During the tour, I was surprised how much England had in common with America. The English students were just like us. We all would joke around and laugh while walking to the next touring spot. This was a really fun experience because not many teens could get the opportunity to host a tour. I find it amazing that people from all around the globe come to the High Line.
The most challenging thing for me was when we would host groups of young kids from summer camps. Our job was to teach them about the history of the High Line by telling them a story of how it became what it is today. During our "trip back in time," the children had trouble listening. Our job as Youth Corps was to make them realize how fascinating the High Line actually is, to show them there is more to this landmark than may appear. We showed them pictures and played games that were played by children in the 1930s. Even though the process wasn't easy, at the end of the day, it was electrifying to know that at least one child went home and told their parents what they learned at the High Line.
The High Line Youth Corps works as a team, but we all have different goals in life when we graduate high school this coming June. I believe that the knowledge and experience that I have gained from working at the High Line will help with my future profession.
The High Line Youth Corps are part of High Line Schools & Education, which is supported by the Altman Foundation, the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, the Concordia Foundation, HSBC Bank USA, NA, and Target, with additional support made by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.