A community of students striving to reach their career goals while empowering others to do the same is what makes the Mayor's Youth Employment Program's (MYEP) new ambassador program so special. Tylan Deams, who initially participated in MYEP during the height of the pandemic, was overjoyed when she finally got to meet her fellow ambassadors in person during the High School Youth Roundtable with the Department of Education and White House COVID-19 Response Team in October 2021.
Deams is currently a student at Charlotte Teacher Early College with a burning desire to become an educator. Her hope is to initially become a biology teacher, then a biology professor. "I woke up one day, and I really wanted to be a teacher. It's something that you kind of feel and kind of know," she recalled. Participating in MYEP and the Ambassador program allows her to gain new skills while building a network of people who want to see her win.
In the summer of 2020, she participated in the Virtual Pathways option offered by MYEP and was placed with Bank of America. "I love that they're giving an opportunity to the youth to work in higher up jobs," Deams said. During this summer experience, she was tasked with working on a lot of spreadsheets with the goal of creating a faux app to solve the problems associated with said spreadsheets.
The following summer, determined to gain experience in her career of choice, she was placed with Freedom School Partners, a non-profit that prioritizes learning throughout the summer to prevent loss, in an in-person role. "I really enjoyed it. I loved all my co-workers. I actually still talk to them today. It was such as fun experience. I made so many friends. It was more project-based, so we made bottle rockets and lava lamps. I loved every single second of it and couldn't have been more appreciative," she said.
Deams was also able to get a head start on what teacher life may look like for her. One day while eating with the students, she didn't want her fruit snacks. This lead some students to ask if they could eat them. "I said yes, if you can spell the word 'science.'" From that point on during lunch, students would say "Ms. Tylan, Ms. Tylan, can we please do a spelling bee for snacks?" So, she made sure to pack extra snacks for them to eat!
She maintains the same passion for students as she does teachers. "I'm a huge advocate for education and teachers," she said. "I met with the superintendent and a few other educational leaders about teachers' pay and how to retain students in my program, so getting a chance to meet with the Secretary of Education was like my dream at that point," Deams shared.
Now, in her current role as a MYEP Ambassador, she works to increase the number of students participating in MYEP while encouraging retention amongst previous participants. Deams markets the program at her school, which includes posting signs in-person and messages via the school's social media, assisting those who want to enroll, and sharing information as much as possible. She even created a YouTube video to provide answers to frequently asked questions that was shared within her school.
To learn more about the MYEP Ambassador Program visit www.charlottenc.gov/myep for details.