Made in Durham Youth Network member Interviewed at Durham Women Take No Bull event

March 8, 2018

Jesica Averhart, executive director of Leadership Triangle, interviews Durham Youth Network member Aminah Jenkins March 8 in front of hundreds of women gathered for the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce’s second annual Durham Women Take No Bull event.

Here is an excerpt about her work with Made in Durham.

Averhart: Let’s talk about your work at school because you’re a student advisor at Made in Durham. Now I’m familiar with Made in Durham but I would like for you to describe what Made in Durham is.  (To audience) Let’s have a show of hands, who knows about Made in Durham?

Jenkins: So, Made in Durham is an organization which is an alliance between educators, businesses, nonprofit organizations and, most importantly, a Youth Network that we have and they pride themselves on. So the number one goal of Made in Durham – you can read more about it at their website, MadeinDurham.org – is to make sure that all DPS graduates have post-secondary options or credentials so they can be working by the time they are 25 to create a stronger local workforce.

The thing they did their first year was to try to identify things that can hinder youth from being able to achieve that goal. The number one thing that they found is that racial disparity in the school system is the number one thing, if not the only thing, that will hinder a child from being able to reach the point where they can even look at post-secondary options.

My role as a student advisor is to inform them, as well as their partners, of the issues that we see within Durham, the issues that are affecting us. But then also, one thing that our Youth Network prides itself on is that we kind of do our own work to a degree. We base ourselves on schools and we work on different action projects. The majority right now are action projects trying to increase AP and Honors enrollment for minority students. So, we try and inform but also mobilize and do things within the community.

Averhart: Fantastic. So just to summarize, Made in Durham is informed by our kids; our youth are shaping and informing that work, which is unique, right? And also, obvious, that’s what we need to be doing. I’m glad to have you as a student advisor who sounds like you’re giving us some good structure and advice along the way.

What can this audience, as it relates to Made in Durham, or just in general, what would you ask of this incredible group of professional women to support the work that you’re doing at Made in Durham, or just in general. Let’s say Made In Durham, specifically, is there something they can do to get involved?

Jenkins: At Made in Durham, the one thing that helps us the most is networking. So learning and talking to different people about the organizations they are part of and also the different activism and things that they do in their community can benefit us a lot because finding different alliances that help us reach our common goal can help us get there a lot faster.

Another thing we really need and appreciate is donations because it not only helps us with maintaining the facility that we do have, but it also helps us make sure that our work is not only appreciated by the community, but to make sure that we feel like we’re not just giving to what some people would consider a useless cause. So the donations and networking and actively supporting the networking is what we ask and what we need you to do.

To learn more about Made in Durham’s Youth Network, visit www.madeindurham.org/youthnetwork.

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Made in Durham is a community partnership of educators, business, government, youth-serving nonprofits and young people mobilized around a shared vision that all of Durham’s youth will complete high school and a post-secondary credential and begin a rewarding career by the age of 25.
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