On Friday, August 12th, Avenues for Justice (AFJ) celebrated its Second Annual Andy Awards, featuring multiple media projects created by twelve of our Participants during AFJ's 2022 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).Thanks to the program, AFJ was able to provide our SYEP interns with a City-subsidized salary while they received 150 hours of our HIRE UP communications training for videography, podcasting, and music production.
After each Participant presented their project to the audience, they received an Andy Award highlighting specific talents they exhibited during the internship. Their video projects ranged from discussing favorite sports to street interviews on the war in the Ukraine. Projects also included rap performances and audiobooks of their own writings and music.
In addition to their individual projects, the SYEP Participants collaborated on a documentary about gun violence, with interviews from the local and academic communities that portrayed varying viewpoints. Gun violence was selected as the topic because it struck close to home for many of our Participants. Last summer, shortly after our 2021 Andy Awards, one of our SYEP interns, Menkie Collins, tragically lost his life to senseless gun violence in Harlem. He was just 24 years old and beginning to turn his life around for the better.
To honor Menkie’s positive impact on his peers, Avenues for Justice created the Menkie Collins Award for Leadership. Menkie’s sister, Maliah, and AFJ Court Advocates Brian and Elsie presented the award to2022 SYEP Participant, Thomas, who arrived early for his internship every day and displayed a strong work ethic throughout the summer. Like many AFJ Participants, Thomas has chosen to continue with our program long-term, and after five years of our guidance, combined with AFJ’s new communications training, he is an excellent candidate for employment in media.
Avenues for Justice congratulates all twelve SYEP Participants for completing the 150-hour training.