The Stone Soup Leadership Institute's Sustainable Workforce Development Program

Back-to-School Event • August 27, 2019

The Stone Soup Leadership Institute held its annual Back-to-School Event at the Community Boating Center in New Bedford.  The event brought together youth delegates from The Institute's 15th Youth Leadership Summit in June  Everyone was excited to share highlights from their summer.  The Summit was their #1 highlight!

Sustainable Workforce Development Program

The Institute's Sustainable Workforce Development Program builds bridges between young people, educators and blue-green companies, connecting youth to workforce development opportunities to prepare for sustainable career pathways.

Sailing with Community Boating Center

We're grateful to New Bedford's Community Boating Center. During the Summit our youth delegates really enjoyed their experience with Sail Newport. They were thrilled to learn that they had an awesome sailing program right in their own community!

Our youth were excited to learn that on this same day, Greta Thunberg arrived in New York City's harbor. She had sailed for two whole weeks from London to U.S. speak at the United Nation's Climate Change Summit.  During the Summit youth were inspired watching videos about this 16-year-old Swedish youth who is engaging millions of youth #Fridays for our Future and challenging leaders to join them to address the climate crisis facing our world.  Our youth were excited the Institute would be in New York City for a special event with Greta - and they would live stream on their computers. They will then join in the Global Climate Strike with young people around the world on September 20.

Greta Thunberg Sailing to U.S.

We children are doing this to wake the adults up. We children are doing this for you to put your differences aside and start acting as you would in a crisis. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back.

Youth were excited to take charge of their hands-on experience with the Community Boating Center. The delegates were eager to be out on the water again. They loved sailing for the first time in Newport and learning about how sail boats were powered only by the wind.  We used the metaphor of practicing our leadership skills - being responsive to the changing winds - as we move forward towards our goals.

Today I got to revisit a favorite hobby of mine: sailing. Since it was in my hometown, I loved it even more. Everyone was really nice - I was part of the family.  At first we were nervous when we went out on the sail boats. In the end, everyone had fun. It was exhilarating to be back on the water especially since it was such a beautiful day and we were out on the open water.  It was awesome  to actually be the captain on the sailboat.  I got to control the sails and drive the boat, which is something I didn’t get to do before. I really liked the  instructor, Greg -- he was big and friendly like me, so that was great to meet someone like myself. Greg told us some fun stories about why certain things were named what they were on the boat and even taught us cool ways to remember the names of different parts.  One that was special to me was: “Mr. Luff had a tack in his foot but didn’t have a clue about the leech on his head.” It basically taught me the names I should know on the boat!  I loved the experience. Here’s to hoping to be able to do more of it sooner! -- Micah Ortiz

Yesterday was a good day because most of the Summit youth delegates saw each other again after summer. We shared what we did during the summer.  We also shared our plans for the fall and if we had made any changes since the Summit.  A great thing for me was that Marianne and Lola gave me advice and let me know that I have their support to move forward with my plans.  Last but not least thank you to the Community Boating Center, I enjoyed sailing even as it was nice and calm. Izzy and I had so much fun! -- Evelin Perez

It was great to go sailing again. I had fun asking lots of questions about what to do and how different it was from driving a car but soon I got used to it! I did get scared once or twice but the sailing instructors reassured me by telling me what was ok and what was not ok while we were sailing. After we finished, we went onshore and I relaxed by playing with the minnows!

-- Izzy Perez

Dreams to Action

The Back-to-School Event is an important next step in the Institute’s year-round program.  Building on the strong foundation set in the Summit, this event brings together youth for some fun and to refocus on their goals before the new school year begins. In this way, they are better prepared to take advantage of all the resources that we can collectively find to support them.  We reviewed their 5-year plans they created in the Summit.  They shared how they had taken actions towards making their dreams come true. Some shifted or honed their goals.  Each youth left the session with an action plan. Supporting our youth to share their plans and formulate next steps deepens their commitment to realizing their dreams.

As a high school freshman, Izzy Perez is eager to begin working towards her goal of becoming a veterinarian.

She's grateful for her support from Newport Project Coordinator Lola Herrera who will help advocate for science and math courses, with some tutoring too.

Evelin Diaz is looking forward to taking business courses at Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI).  These will give her a strong foundation for her dream of owning her own bakery one day.  Micah Ortiz really enjoyed working with the Summit Tech Team. He's decided he wants to explore the world of technology - and even develop the skill of coding. He was going to check in with his school to see what courses might be available.  We encouraged him to sign up right away!

Ben Lobo shared about his apprenticeship at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  He shared how the Summit opened his eyes to the joy of meeting new people. He's now more comfortable interacting with people and exploring new ideas. Dona Bonnie and Lya Perez both aspire to work in the health field. Dona is now focusing on pediatrics.  She was especially grateful to Summit Facilitator Taynara Goncalves. As a senior in college pursuing health practitioner, Taynara sharing her 5 Year Plan really helped Dona to understand the many steps she would need to take to pursue her goals.  As a senior, Lya is aware of the importance of her fall semester, and how colleges will focus on her grades. She is eager to find a mentor in a local hospital.

Youth Voices

My experience today was a great way to have fun and think about my next steps as a senior.  It allowed me to think about the difference resources and steps I had to complete: including job shadowing, building my resume, college letters, community service hours and many more. In order to do all those, I need to be passionate and determined! What I have in mind for myself, is to look online to see whether I can shadow and learn about the field from a doctor or nurse. I loved the reunion and catching up with each other’s lives and goals. Sailing again (with Dona and Leaslie) and meeting everyone else again was special because I missed everyone that came to Newport for the Summit. While sailing, I was the leader of my group and I learned how to steer the sailboat. I would like to thank them for the wonderful opportunity and a big thanks to Marianne, Nam, Lola and everyone else that made pizza and sailing happen!

Lya Perez

Many Thanks!

The Institute extends our heartfelt thanks to the Community Boating Center for making our event possible. Special thanks to our wonderful instructors of the day, Greg Pimentel (Program Director), Abby Cook (Science and Sailing Director) and Adilson!

Leaslie Perez is very motivated to pursue her interest in graphic design. She proudly announced she signed up for a newspaper course. She's excited to learn these new skills.  My experience in New Bedford with the rest of the youth delegates and the awesome sailing team was very memorable. I’m very happy that I was able to be there with everyone and talk to them about our experiences this summer and share our next steps for our future..  Connecting with everyone again made me happy, especially to know that the Summit was the highlight of everyone’s summer! Sailing reminded me of the great memories in Newport. We had a great time. Thank you to the Sailing Team for taking your time to teach us about sailing and boats!

Leaslie Perez

Though I have gone sailing quite a few times in my life, the most recent one provided by the Stone Soup Leadership Institute has reignited an interest for the practice in me that I had previously lost between my 'interregnum' of partaking in such activity. I am very happy to have been privileged enough to be able to do this as a part of their initiative.

Ben Lobo

I had an amazing time sailing. I got to reconnect with all of the great people I met at the summit in the beginning of summer and got to catch up on what the rest of our summers were like. It was cool to see that there was a sailing place in New Bedford that I didn’t know about before even though I’ve lived here all of my life. I hope to visit again soon!!!

Dona Bonnie

Greta Thunberg
New York City

On Sept. 9 The Institute's Executive Director was with Greta Thunberg in New York City at “The Right to a Future” to call on people of all ages and all around the world to join the strike for Global Climate Strike. Here is the 10 minute edit of the event video. Read more:

#El Paso Strong

During our meeting, we thought of others less fortunate than we are.  We wrote heart-felt messages to students in El Paso, Texas who had lived through a horrible tragedy.  We sent them with two big boxes of Summit T-shirts and swag bags. To give them hope, we also enclosed copies of Stone Soup for the World: Life-Changing Stories of Everyday Heroes.