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Programs Offers Inner City Youths Professional Field Training

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Flickr user Lindsey Bieda

FACE, a paid summer internship program for young adults, is wrapping up and showing off what its participants have been up to in the past six weeks.

The name of the program stands for film, arts, culture (and coding) and entrepreneurship. Participants choose an area of focus and pair up with industry professionals to develop and execute a project in that field.

Some of the participants developed an app supposed to make the murals of Negro League Baseball at Dorsey Park more interactive. Another group made a professional-grade film and a third developed Overtown’s first pop-up shop.

The program, funded by the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Association, hopes to bridge a gap between school and employment for young people from Overtown, Liberty City and Little Haiti by connecting them with professionals.

“We want to be in a position to be that talent development pipeline coming out of the inner city,” says Saliha Nelson, who runs the program. “Getting them excited about what’s out there, linking them and networking with industry professionals who can potentially hire them if they prove themselves as they matriculate through high school and college.”

There aren't a lot of other programs like this for area kids, and Nelson says the unemployment rate for black and Hispanic youth is much higher than the overall unemployment rate.

Estefania Arroyo is about to start college and says she's considering changing her major to programming after participating in FACE.

“I have developed so many skills,” she says. “I’ve created this website and I feel like I can create millions more, you know, for money -- get paid to do my own design company. ... It makes you feel empowered.”

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