Best Summer Ever: SYI Students Share Their Experiences

SYI teens share their summer work experiences during the SYI Celebration

Last week, Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) students, staff and employers gathered for the SYI Wrap-Up Celebration at Brush Park in downtown Flint. At the event, SYI workers celebrated a successful summer working and building their professional networks. Several students also had the opportunity to speak on their experience and what they did to complete the program’s volunteer service component.

“It is always great to hear what students have accomplished over the course of the summer through SYI,” says James Avery, director of Talent Development at Flint & Genesee Education & Talent. “Each year, students take pride in the work they are doing for their employer and for the community, and it is rewarding be able to share in their journey.”

Aniyah Norris spent her summer at Asbury Church, where she worked at the organization’s farm, helped distribute water, cooked for the church’s soup kitchen and performed neighborhood cleanup.

“I learned how to grow and harvest fruits and vegetables like carrots and strawberries,” says Norris.

Mekenzie Philips and Triyannah Hendrix, who worked for Mott Community College (MCC), learned how to work in an office setting this summer.

“One of my favorite parts was being involved in the inner workings of an office,” says Phillips. “It was cool to learn how those things are done.”

For their volunteer project, students working for MCC volunteered at North End Soup Kitchen.

“It was a very fast-paced environment, where we had to make 200 sandwiches,” says Hendrix. “I was able to learn how to work in that environment.”

SYI helps coordinate the summer employment of Genesee County teens and young adults who complete TeenQuest, a pre-employment training program from Flint & Genesee Education & Talent. TeenQuest is offered to Genesee County students ages 14-19 in grades 9-12.

For more information on TeenQuest, visit

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.