The Gandhi Institute is excited to have piloted a new youth employment program in partnership with the Rochester City School District for summer 2016. The Summer Youth Facilitation Institute (SYFI) prepares students to be peace builders in local schools and community organizations. The high school students who were selected to participate were given paid apprenticeships at the Institute, where they were trained in facilitation, conflict transformation, and social justice. The goal of the program is to build a cadre of young people who can be employed to model and utilize nonviolence and serve as inspirational role models for younger students. Stay tuned for more SYFI updates!

Ashley Alcantara, Youth Facilitator, ashley.gandhiinstitute@gmail.com

Ashley is 14 years old, and attends Northeast College Prep High school at Frederick Douglass Campus. She will be entering the 10th grade this upcoming school year. She really enjoyed the social Justice class that she took in 8th grade. That is where Ashley met David Sanchez and Malik Thompson.  Throughout this class, they were able to teach students about nonviolence and how they can make a difference in their communities. This connection allowed Ashley to be interested in doing more work with the Gandhi Institute. Another Gandhi staff member named Mr.Michailidis introduced her to the SYFI Program this past Spring. She was very excited and applied instantly. Ashley knows that this program will allow her to improve on her facilitation skills, as well as bring back what she learned during the summer to her school community.

Shanell Bryant, Youth Facilitator, shanell.gandhiinstitute@gmail.com

Shanell Bryant is a 15 year old 10th grader at James Monroe High School. She is very well know at her school for her bright personality and being a mediator among her peers. She has a very strong passion for styling hair and her hobbies include playing basketball, tennis and badminton. Shanell got involved with the Gandhi Institute through her school, she was given the opportunity to fill out an application by the Gandhi institute staff member David. A few things Shanell wanted to learn this summer were really understanding how to use nonviolence to get what you want out of a violent society. She also wanted to learn how to get the attention of younger youth to be able to teach  the in’s and out’s of nonviolence.

Janetta Cook, Youth Facilitator, janetta.gandhiinstitute@gmail.com

Janetta Cook is a 17 year-old student at Wilson Magnet High School. Some of her interests are basketball and volunteering. When Janetta got to high school, she played basketball, volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club, and worked at Teen Empowerment. She was drawn to the Gandhi Institute because she wanted to continue her work with social justice and make a difference in the community and neighborhood. Janetta was introduced to restorative justice through school, where she was taught how to be a restorative justice facilitator, which struck her interest. She wanted to be a SYFI  youth so she can work with kids and teach them about non-violence. She is hoping to learn how she can incorporate non-violence into her school and neighborhood. She is excited to work with the Freedom school kids and have a positive impact on them this summer.

Nosym Tillmon, Youth Facilitator, nosym.gandhiinstitiute@gmail.com

Nosym is a 16 year old 11th grader from Rochester, NY with drive and ambition to do better in life. He attends Rochester Early College International High School, where he is currently on the path of graduating a year early. He is currently working at the Gandhi Institute as a SYFI youth. While working at Teen Empowerment, Nosym learned a little about the Gandhi Institute and what it stood for, and when he found out they were having a summer internship, he jumped at the opportunity to learn more so he could bring back more knowledge about nonviolence and creating positivity to his community. In his spare time, Nosym enjoys sleeping, hanging out with friends, helping out at home, and most of all, rapping. As well as being an older brother, Nosym is kind, caring, brave, bold, caring, and loving and doesn’t mind being a leader whenever and wherever he is. A dependable person who is ready to take action and lead his community to a more positive age of living, send a “hey” or handshake his way!

Erika Suarez, Youth Facilitator, erika.gandhiinstitute@gmail.com

Erika is 14, she attends Frederick Douglass High School. This summer she is joining the SYFI  program. Well  that’s the nickname the actual name is Summer Youth Facilitation Institute. Through SYFI my colleagues and I teach kids from number 19 school about our garden and about nonviolence. The children that come have a wonderful time.Erika found out about this program through her wonderful teacher of social justice,Spero Michailidis After learning about nonviolence she decided  it would be wonderful to teach others about Gandhi and his work. She strongly agrees that giving back to others the knowledge you learn is the key to a change in this world.  Her favorite activity to do is type/write,she wrote many stories for the peace in the garden kids.IMG_0218 (1)