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Thomas Southerton: Youth Empowerment Corps Blog
My name is Tom Southerton and I am a second year AmeriCorps Volunteer at the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell, MA. During my first year I served as an outreach specialist working alongside our team of street workers and transitional coaches with our target youth demographic which included youth 16 – 23 who were unemployed, not in school, homeless, gang involved or court involved. I would outreach to the youth of Lowell about the different programs that UTEC had to offer, provide job assistance, organize activities for high school youth and assist in providing youth with any other services that they may have needed. My favorite part of my year as an outreach specialist was definitely meeting youth on the streets and being able to help them by offering information on the assistance that UTEC could provide them with. It was always great to be able to give these kids a sense of hope when they were going through hard times.
I chose to work with AmeriCorps because I wanted to be able to give back to the community that I live in. I had friends who worked at UTEC so I already knew about how unique of an organization it was and really wanted to be a part of that. Working with youth has always meant something to me and I thought this would be a great opportunity to help some kids express themselves creatively and become more involved in their community. I enjoyed working with AmeriCorps at UTEC so much that I decided that I would like to come back and work for a second year. I am very glad that I did so that I can continue to work with youth and provide an exciting and welcoming environment for them in their community.