Norwalk Library Hosts Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program Workers


NORWALK, CT — Several local students recently worked on an independent project at the South Norwalk Library as part of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

Each summer, the Norwalk Public Library welcomes SYEP students to both library locations to provide many of them with their first work experience, according to a news release.

The project is presented during the last week of their summer employment.

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“The students are given one hour per day to collaborate together, by themselves, to create a project,” Norwalk Public Library Director Sherelle Harris said in a news release. “The project is solely theirs from budget to planning to advertising to execution.”

This year, students Manuel Corona, Dyan Sommerville and Cynai Tomlin created a DVD cover art contest within the following three categories: action, comedy, and drama.

The winners were all Fox Run Elementary School students. Dustin and Finn Menti, brothers who will enter second grade next year, won the drama and action categories, respectively, according to the library.

Bruno Huacca, who will enter third grade next year, won the comedy category. Each won a basket full of fun things that Corona, Sommerville, and Tomlin chose from Five Below, a local chain store.

“We are so proud of this year’s Summer Youth Employment Program students who are doing an incredible job with the independent assignments they have been given to help the South Norwalk Library,” Mayor Harry Rilling said in a news release. “Our program matches participants with employment opportunities for six weeks during the summer to give youth an important, positive first work experience. These students gain exposure to various career opportunities in a collaborative work environment to help them acquire the tools they need to succeed in the workforce.”

Harris said during previous years, SYEP students created a gaming tournament as well as a multicultural celebration in Norwalk. The latter included food, trivia, and presentations from representatives of different cultures, according to the library.

Rilling, Senator Bob Duff and Darlene Young, who coordinates the employment and training of the students, stopped by the South Norwalk Library to support the youth.

Hailey Roy, who was part of the SYEP team that created the multicultural celebration, also stopped by the event to show support. Roy was hired as a shelver after the program and is now in her sophomore year at Southern Connecticut State University.

“I gained real life and work experience at the SoNo Branch Library,” Roy said in a news release. “I don’t think many people can say that about their first job. I had so many amazing experiences, such as writing about banned books and being published and having our summer program published. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for Sherelle. She mentors unselfishly, and I want to give back the same way.”

The youth at SoNo Library worked very closely with Raeven McFadden, a former SYEP worker who is now library assistant, converting DVDs from the old standard to the new. They finished the entire adult feature area and a portion of the children’s area. The assignment inspired the idea for their independent project, according to the library.

Sommerville worked between the two libraries and assisted Acquisitions Library Assistant Kathy Rauscher with data entry.

The students assigned to the Main Library on Belden Avenue were supervised by Director of Adult Services Cynde Lahey.

According to the library, the students gained overall knowledge of the library with a variety of fun and creative projects from working with the seed library, searching for missing items on the shelves, developing instructional video material for Studio One, preparing local photos for scanning for the History Room and learning about the information desk functions.

“It has been an honor working with and growing the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program,” Young said in a news release. “I appreciate Sherelle Harris’ leadand the continuance of giving the youth an opportunity to work on projects with independence. I am a firm believer in not underestimating the leadership skills of young people.”

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Norwalk Library Hosts Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program Workers

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