Summit UP! and My Internship
By: Lena Guevara

You may have heard about this year South Seattle Youth Summit called “Summit Up”, but if not you missed out. This year’s summit was fantastic. A day where youth, from all over Seattle, came to take several informative workshops and talk about about various topics that are important to them and their community. For example we had a workshop called, Know Your Rights about where youth were educated in the rights they have and when to use them. The How to Find the Ally In You was about accepting people of all differences including members of LGBQT communities. Gorilla Art, Food justice, and so many more. Several other organizations were involved in the planning like Youngstown Cultural Arts Center’s YPC, HIDMO, WAPI, Youth Media Institute, -and many more.

YMI sponsored a similar event in the past. Last, years summit was called “Be Your Own Movement” or “BOOM.” This year summit was an even more evolved version. This year the turn out was much bigger then last year and its thanks in large part to interns that took the initiative to apply themselves and be involved. Also, this summit was used to generate 20 internships for youth who want to combine their passion for their community into action. The youth planning team met every Monday and Friday, not including the workdays spent putting in extra time for set up. My experience with the planning was pretty positive and a learning experience as well. For myself, I have never had much organizational experience or public speaking. These meetings require all these things, you have to speak up and make sure you get your ideas out there, you also have to be accountable for the jobs you take on such as calling organizations or putting together supplies for workshops. “I was excited because we had a rockin’ group. Tammy Do said the planning was kind of all over at first. “As youth summit day goes one, I get more and more stressed. My only job was to run my workshop. Little did I know, I was put on more tasks that I didn’t know about. After I finished one task, there was always another. The after party made it worth it. It rejuvenated me and put the happiness back into my smiles. It turned into more of a celebration for the hard working staff and volunteers. I looked around and was oh so thankful for the people I worked with. The energy at Youngstown is so power and as mad or upset that I get with Youngstown, it can never keep me away.”

Then came the big day, we had a great turn out of 125 people. The day started out with registration of the workshops, then some introductions from the interns. After the first workshop, we had lunch from El Salvadorian bakery located in White center and Pai’s also located in White Center. During this grand inhale of great food some of the adults introduced a new internship that was being offered, only 20 youth would be selected. These youth would go on to be trained by YMI, then four would be selected to work closely with Mandy Yu, on food justice issues using the media tools they were taught during the summer. The other 16 would create there own internship and use the tools they learned to create a project which they have a year to complete. The best part I think is being paid 1,900$. I do not think anyone could turn that down. In addition to the internships, food, and great people we had a free wall as well.

One youth named, Jasmine Hulse, mentioned, “I had a great time, the food was so good and I learned a lot about how to help my community” . “I think this summit was really effective I saw lots of people reach outside their comfort zone” commented John Tannehill. “I really liked that we played some kind of game in the workshops that got you thinking about the issue” said Frank Johnson. The summit was a success in my opinion and I think the issues brought up touched many people in powerful ways.
The summit was a success and I think people walked away with a greater understanding of how to be an activist in there own communities. For me being an activist on my own can be overwhelming at times, but after the internship I had here at Youngstown, I know now that I’m not the only one. Its easy to sit there and say you are doing the best you can, but its an even bigger challenge to get out there and make a change, no change is too small. With all the youth that were involved this year due to there attendance at last years summit, I think it goes to show that one event can change your life. For me and many other youth this years summit “Summit Up!” did just that. We as a community of youth, organizations, and coordinators made a life long change in life’s of many future and present activists.

I’m glad I took on this challenge and I made a lot of friends, but more importantly I feel I somehow made I difference in not only the people I work with lives, but also my friends that attended the event. For me this summit was more than part of an internship, it was the beginning of a life long change.