Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Best Way to Spend the Summer!

Hello everyone! My name is Jamee and I am the Outreach Programs Coordinator for the National Building Museum.  This summer I'm the lead instructor for Investigating Where We. I've worked at the Museum since 2005. I am originally from a small town in Oklahoma but have called DC home for the past five years. 

My job is fun, challenging, and rewarding. I work with teens. The best part about my job is that we, the Museum, see students grow up with us, right in front of our eyes. They spend two years to seven years with our programs. This Museum is a place where teens hang out, they know the staff, and they are made to feel welcome all the time.

Students who come through NBM programs leave with a better understanding of how they can help create positive change in their communities and also how their communitiy contributes to the overall health of the city. It's really cool to see students have such ownership of their city but also be able to discuss ways in which it can improve.  I think Jasmine, a participant in Outreach Programs for three years, explains the experience well.

“At first (three years ago), IWWL was simply a cool summer camp. Now that I have learned more about the city where I live, the areas such as Brookland and Columbia Heights are not just places on the Metro map to me. I have learned what makes them a big and important part of the DC landscape.” Jasmine – age 15

This summer I look forwad to meeting new students as well as working with our returning students in IWWL. My favorite moment is when we open the gallery to a group of teens and let them go to work - painting, framing, hanging photos, laughing, singing, etc.  It's the moment where they connect their work during the last three weeks to the greater importance of what they have the chance to communicate to the public. It's an empowering moment. A moment that I, along with our IWWL staff, am fortunate to be a part of each summer.   

Props to.....
This program is successful each summer due to the fantastic teens as well as the AMAZING staff. You've met the 2010 staff from blog posts below and can see their enthusiasm and interest in working with our teens. We also have an awesome group of photographers working with our students - thanks to a collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Joining this group are a handful of design professionals that spend each day mentoring our students and sharing how their professional paths intersect with what the students are doing at the Museum this summer.

If you are still reading, I hope you continue to follow our updates, post your comments, and share with others.  We tell the students that it is important to learn from one another - to share freely, to provide feedback constructively, and to be open to change.  We hope that you find these messages in their posts and that you learn a lot from a small group of teens. 


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