Zymira first learned about ECS Seeing Youth Succeed (SYS) when she and her mom were living at ECS St. Barnabas Mission. Activities at the West Philadelphia shelter reflect the fact that the shelter serves mostly mothers of young children, but SYS was a perfect fit.
Through its projects, the center encourages collaboration and teamwork and teaches participants how to manage conflict before landing their first jobs.
“I’m not really a sociable person, but when I got here, I felt comfortable to open up and talk about what I’ve been through … I just love the people,” Zymira said. “We have our moments where we all disagree, but we all find a compromise to make decisions as whole group.”
Zymira isn’t sure what career she would like to pursue, but family lawyer, author and fashion designer top the list. Zymira is currently in eleventh grade, and for the most part, enjoys school, but finds that the rules and learning environment can be too rigid. She prefers the participant-led Seeing Youth Succeed program and encourages her friends to come too.
“It’s three hours on a Saturday, so get up and do something. You can actually meet friends. We are like one big family,” Zymira said. “If more people knew about a program like this, you would have less kids getting into trouble. This is something that feeds your mind.”