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Photo by Rowa Lee Photo by Rowa Lee

Teens

The High Line Teen Employment Program is a paid opportunity for local youth (approximately ages 15 to 19) focused on skills-building and leadership development through civic engagement, arts and culture, ecological horticulture initiatives, public programs, and strategic partnerships. Teens gain professional skills and hands-on experience as critical practitioners, while building connections with other teens in public spaces throughout the city.

The High Line Teen Employment Program is a paid opportunity for local youth (approximately ages 15 to 19) focused on skills-building and leadership development through civic engagement, arts and culture, ecological horticulture initiatives, public programs, and strategic partnerships. Teens gain professional skills and hands-on experience as critical practitioners, while building connections with other teens in public spaces throughout the city.

Meet the 2023 Teen Staff

Mel Roby

“This year, I want want to learn and grow at the High Line.”

Amiya Gonzalez

“I’m looking forward to working at the High Line because I want independence, money, and to work towards my botany career.”

Sophia Gonzalez

“I’m looking forward to being a High Line Teen staff member because it seems like an overall good experience. The High Line is beautiful and the staff are always positive and kind. It’s a lovely environment.”

Bianca Estrada

“I’m looking forward to being a High Line Teen because I want to make new friends and make sure the visitors coming to the High Line have the time of their lives.”

Ren Valeriani-Takeda

“Being on the High Line makes me feel excited for what’s to come. I’m glad that I’m working in an area so many people know and I can be a part of the change.”

Joaquin Eleno

“I live in the community. The High Line brings people, businesses, a new train line, and new connections to this part of the city.”

Lewis Lopez

“I’m looking forward to being a High Line Teen because I feel I can make a difference within our community.”

Jahlasia Bishop

“I’m looking forward to being a High Line Teen because I love to learn new things. The environment is great and the energy coming from everyone is amazing.”

Maylen Ramírez

“This year, I really want to show what I can bring to the High Line: my creativity and my ideas.”

Aniyah Cameron

“The High Line allows me to feel calm and free from outside stress.”

Lyla Mooney

“The High Line brings inclusivity, engagement, and opportunity to its community.”

Antonia Perez

“Being at the High Line makes me feel calm, happy, and engaged.”

Jaqese Smith

“This year, I’m looking forward to learning more about the High Line.”

Kyle Maisonet

“I’m looking foward to being a High Line Teen because I’d like to bring new ideas, as well as collaborate with the staff.”

Bismark Ghanney

“The High Line is my safe space, my resource to sit down and relax. It brings me a peace of mind, despite the stressful things around me.”

Brandon Sanchez

“The High Line creates an inclusive space for people to enjoy.”

Skarlet Diaz

“I’m looking forward to being a High Line Teen because of the experience and knowledge that will be provided.”

Angela Padilla

“Three words that come to mind when I think of the High Line: exciting, hopeful, and green.”

Jah Bishop

“This year, I want to get better at communicating with new people on the High Line.”

Lo Andrickson

“This year, I want to thrive at the High Line.”

Alejandro Ayala

“I’m looking forward to being a High Line Teen because this is only my second work experience and I hope to learn a lot.”

Fahad Hussain

“Being on the High Line makes me feel relaxed and carefree. When I’m there, I feel surrounded by nature and I see the city from a view I never really get to see. It also makes me happy that the High Line will exist for future generations to experience as well. As I walk, I feel the breeze just taking away all my negative emotions and filling me with joy and peace.”

Fatimah Jannat

“I’m looking forward to being a High Line Teen because I want to learn more and meet and connect with different people.”

Keisha Lewis

“The High Line brings opportunity and dreams to my community. The South Bronx is a Black and Brown, low-income community. Many kids don’t have the opportunity to expand on their interests or develop new ones, and the High Line will give them that opportunity. It can allow the key to a whole new world for students, and change their lives completely.”

Jose Hernandez

“I’m looking forward to gaining communication skills by socializing with others and participating in events.”

Iyana McGhaney

“I never knew something that was once abandoned could become so beautiful. It’s really inspiring to see how art can positively impact the community around it as a whole.”

Steve Trujillo

“I really want to learn about different positions and have the opportunity to explore different career paths that will help with my career goals for the future.”

Kymberli Smith

“The pandemic made me appreciate the High Line much more—having a space to gather with everyone and feel much more happy about life around me. I think about it as a space of hope now, not just externally but internally. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the High Line: I’ve grown up with my position on the High Line, and I’m better for it.”

Jaylene Guzman

“Something I learned on the High Line is my love for nature and the earth. I’ve always been a big advocate for fighting climate change and being on the High Line made me feel like I could immerse myself more in nature. I feel very connected to the earth around parks and trees, and I think the High Line has taught me a lot about nature and enjoying my own solitude.”

Nehyandé Winslow

“During the pandemic, outdoor spaces became vital to maintaining my mental health. The High Line provides a tight and diverse community and enough outdoor space to help me feel free.”

Kevin Lacen

“This year, I’m looking forward to making friends at the High Line.”

Zamora Gant

“Being on the High Line makes me feel calm because it’s just space and you can do whatever you want. It could be a place for someone to relax and take a break at.”

Jasmin Romero Caballero

“Through the High Line Teen staff, I truly learned what a positive community was and I felt more immersed in the Chelsea community and its needs. I think my inclusion in this community has brought a big awareness of the culture around this neighborhood and more interaction with my neighbors.”

Shanice Dorzilor

“This year, I want to gain more experience at the High Line.”

Tapuwanashe Hightower

“I’m looking forward to being a High Line Teen because I love interacting with other teens and discovering ways to make this world better.”

Ibrahim Pjetrovic

“Being on the High Line makes me feel like part of a family.”

Junior DeJesus

“The High Line brings interconnection within our community because it has brought together people with similar interests that end up working together to send a message to address injustices.”

Yisel De Jesus Rodriguez

“The High Line makes me feel like everyone belongs. Walking along the High Line, I connect with it through the art, through the diversity, through the self-expression. Coming from someone who was born in the Heights and raised in the Bronx, I did not imagine myself working at the High Line for two years because it is hard to find a place like the High Line in the Bronx. The High Line is a place of unity and that is why it is unique. No matter who you are or where you have come from, the High Line is somewhere you want to be every single day to experience the events, experience the art, experience the horticulture. The High Line is an experience and I will never forget—the people I have met and had conversations with.”

Jasiah Vega

“Being on the High Line makes me feel happy because of the cool views and people.”

Mame Bousso Kane

“The High Line brings unity to our community.”

Sara Concepcion

“This year, I want to facilitate new working opportunities for my fellow staff members. I hope to spearhead the introduction of branching out on our ability as High Line Teen staff to make connections with other programs, people outside our cohorts, and artists around New York.”

Mia F. Peña

“On the High Line, I have learned the importance of preserving green space in an urban environment as well as how our built environment impacts the community and how we can work to improve it.”

Malia-Fay Vazquez

“I’m looking forward to being a High Line Teen because the High Line has always been a place that inspires me and fuels my creativity!”

Frank B. Felipe

“Three words I would use to describe the High Line would be: nature, innovative, and creative.”

Marco Luna

“I look forward to working at the High Line because it can help me learn new things for the future.”

 

About High Line Teens

We hire teens who have relationships with the neighborhoods surrounding the park, and who either live in the area or attend schools nearby. We prioritize true diversity, in cultural background, socioeconomic status, and life experience. Our teen staff together work more than 4,500 hours a year, exploring skills-building opportunities available through the High Line and the High Line Network, ranging from horticulture to public art. We also provide ongoing mentorship and networking support to staff and alumni.

To learn about getting involved, contact us at info@thehighline.org.

Public Programs

Each year, all teen staff engage in critical leadership development activities, including designing a suite of public programs that explore the various themes, ideals and practices present on the High Line. Public programs can range from small, socially distant materials-based workshops free and open to anyone on the park, to large-scale public festival-style events whether on screen or in person. During the program, teens gain hands-on experience as they learn about program development and production, cross-departmental collaboration, and, partnership with mission-aligned community organizations to explore social themes self-identified as important and relevant.

 

Chelsea Youth Placekeeping Project

This group of local youth conduct neighborhood assessments in collaboration with other youth groups, to identify local areas that would benefit from additional attention, be it an upgrade to a local playground, a mural, or a public service campaign. These projects are determined by teen staff, and a formal RFP process is utilized to bring in local artists and practitioners to realize selected projects. This process prioritizes civic leadership, deliberative dialogue as a solution-based process, youth voice, and autonomy.

 

Youth Participatory Budgeting Committee

As part of the High Line’s partnership with the New York City Council to lead Participatory Budgeting efforts in District 3, our committee of paid teen staff leads this important and innovative civic engagement process. Participating teens (including middle- and high-school members) support all aspects of the process while learning about community engagement and civic leadership.

Alumni Network

We provide ongoing professional development workshops, networking events, family nights, and other opportunities for our 120+ teen alumni, as well as their friends and families. Alumni have helped shape the High Line’s programmatic landscape through family programs, participatory budgeting, public programs on the park, and fairs and festivals. We are committed to providing support as our alumni build their futures and create change in their communities.

'' It was great being able to meet individuals with different perspectives on life. Regardless of their contrasts, each point of view is valid. The most important advice I received was that I shouldn't hold too tightly to an idea, but be free moving with it. Things and ideas come and go, non-resistance will lead to more happiness.'

— Leala, Teen Staff

Support

Lead support for High Line Teens is provided by Jamie and Jeffrey Harris.

Major support for High Line Teens is provided by Sarah Min and Matt Pincus, and Denise Littlefield Sobel.

Additional funding for High Line Teens is provided by Frederica and Efrem Sigel, IAC Foundation, and ConEdison.

High Line Teens is made possible, in part, with endowment funds from the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation.

Major support for High Line Education is provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc.

High Line Programs, High Line Teens, and High Line Education are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council—with special thanks to Speaker Adrienne Adams and the Greener NYC Initiative.