Season comes to an end for Hope of Suffolk trainees as harvest festival approaches – The Suffolk News-Herald

By James W. Robinson

Contributing author

Hope for Suffolk helps the city’s young people learn and grow. As part of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Westminster, the farm work program provides teens in the city with a faith-based space to participate and work together.

Program Manager Nyasia Johnson and Intern Caleb Willliams spoke about the organization as well as their own work, the internship program process and the upcoming Harvest Festival.

Johnson explained the nonprofit’s mission and what it offers interns.

“The mission of Hope for Suffolk comes from the experience of our leaders in the fight against poverty. So years ago, Hope for Suffolk was for adults who were struggling to find jobs and things of that nature. and as things evolved, we realized that we had to work with young people. Hope for Suffolk is unique for many reasons, but I like to point out that it is a Christian organization and provides our interns with gainful employment as well as training and development that they can use as soon as they get it. ”

Johnson then provided more details about the internship program and what parents and their teens need to know to participate.

“Our internship runs from March to October, so around December that’s when we’ll start saying ‘hey, we’re hiring’. Our main focus is that as long as you’re 15+ and you are willing to work outside, we can help.… If you reach both of these quotas, around December, definitely start looking at our social media on Facebook and Instagram – Hope for Suffolk – and also our website, where the app can be found.

Likewise, Johnson highlighted the benefits of those who complete the internship.

“The fun fact about the program is that students who complete our internship or an internship like ours earn 3% more than their peers,” she said.

working the farm

Williams described what it’s like to be an intern for Hope for Suffolk and what the day-to-day work is like.

“We come in, we get ready, work starts at 3:30 p.m., so we go outside and do a briefing, he said. a pep talk, like a pep talk for the work day and then our farm manager Sarah, she will give us a list of our tasks for the day, what we are doing and what needs to be done for that day.

Williams said the interns then got to work, taking care of their two personal rows. “We just check what else needs to be done and it’s really just the basics like weeding… packaging and production,” he said.

Johnson said her planning duties as a program manager were a big part of her job, as well as the day-to-day support she provided to interns.

“For me, as a program manager, a day at work…it kind of starts with me preparing my spiel and so it’s normally me talking to God and just asking him what to say or where to say. I go today,” she said. . “After that, around this time, the interns start coming in, so I like to talk to them, just see how their day is going so far, with back to school to see how it goes.”

Johnson said the workday normally starts a few minutes after that.

“During the work day, I’m not outside as much as our farm manager and director,” she said. “I’m normally doing paperwork or planning the Harvest Festival or doing payroll and things of that nature.”

The day ends with Johnson making announcements. “They kind of differ between what we have going on or what season we’re in,” she said.

harvest festival

Johnson said another big part of the organization is his upcoming Harvest Festival from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on October 1.

“Our Harvest Festival is a community-wide event. When our manager was thinking about Hope for Suffolk and what it would look like, she kind of wanted to end the season in an elevated environment and just give our trainees the opportunity to be a part of something community-wide,” Johnson said. “So basically I get information from my interns like, ‘What do people like at festivals? like ‘What do we want to eat? What do we want to have? and so from there I kind of put in their comments that set foot to move it forward.

She said the trainees work at the many stations they set up during the Harvest Festival.

“So we have five rebound houses and we would have trainees who are referees. For free food, we have cotton candy, popcorn and snow cones, our interns would work there and things of that nature,” Johnson said.

She also gave additional details for those attending and wishing to join the festival.

“For people looking to come, it’s very open. It’s here on our site, which is at Westminster Church at 3488 Godwin Boulevard and we’re just asking for individual donations of $5 and if you’re coming with your family you can bring $10 and that would be fine.

Williams recalled how much he enjoyed his experience with the festival.

“I was there for the last one and it was fun,” he said. “We had tons of stuff – things to do for all ages like games, food, vendors, stuff like that. And there will also be the graduation ceremony for the trainees.

The key points of the program

There are important things they both think the community should know about Hope for Suffolk.

Williams pointed out how this starts anyone off on their career path.

“It’s a great boost in just about anything you want to do,” he said. “I feel like the program itself can just help you branch out into any career path, whatever life goal you’re trying to achieve. And it also allows you to get to know you and meet new people.

Johnson is impressed with how the organization provides a close family atmosphere.

“It’s one of those programs that you can’t really explain until you’ve experienced it,” she said. “I tell interns all the time that when I was applying for this position, I was nervous. I was like, ‘I don’t want to be the program manager of an agricultural program.’ But it’s so much more than that. And from the staff to the interns that we have, we become a family. To have interns from so many different backgrounds and so many differences, when you spend almost eight or nine months with the person or a group of people, we create a link.

For more details on the program and its activities, go to

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