Name: Sarafina Payne
Current Job: Owner of How Sweet It Is dessert cafe in Trumansburg, NY
I had several jobs through YES as a teen. I met my current business partner when YES placed me at Sweet Melissa's Ice Cream when I was 15. I worked there for 8 seasons and opened my own ice cream shop this year.
Did you get your Start with YES? Submit your story here.
Where there are people, there are smartphones. Where there are smartphones, social media apps abound. On my device, alone, I count at least 6 apps dedicated to social networking, some for fitness or crafting or sharing photos or simply staying connected with people I care about. Social media is everywhere -- literally -- and it’s even wiggled its way into the world of work.
Within an office setting, it’s not unusual to see people chatting with remote co-workers, sharing documents, or sending gifs via work-approved networks like Slack. Many businesses hire people specifically to use Snapchat to offer time-sensitive promotional codes, Instagram to announce big sales events, and Twitter and Facebook to attract people to their own websites. Additionally, these platforms may even be used to announce job openings so as to attract a broader range of applicants.
Social media seems to be slowly edging out society’s other forms of communication, such as talking on the phone, sending letters, emailing, and even text messaging. Many adults view this in a negative light, citing scientific evidence that indicates the use of social media leads to stress, feelings of loneliness and seclusion, and ultimately depression. Teens, on the other hand, seem less concerned with those potential side effects.
In a recent survey of 345 Ithaca teens, YES found that only 20% thought social media was adversely impacting them and/or the world around them. These teens believe the addictive nature of social media causes them to waste a lot of time. They recognize negativity, cyber bullying and body shaming, and their infinite capacity to harm unsuspecting users when a harmful post goes viral.
For the 31% of teens who strongly believe that social media is good for them, the benefits come down to an increase in their ability to communicate with followers and friends both near and far. Many teens turn to Instagram and Snapchat as a way to keep in touch with friends and family or to find humor in an otherwise unhappy world. One teen asked, “What would the world be without memes?” Another teen spoke about how her family tends to be narrow minded, and social media has opened up her world view and given her a perspective she would have never had without it.
But for all of the good feelings social media can provide, 46% of Ithaca’s teens recognize that social media is a two edged sword. Its effects come down to the user. Ideas can be spread, and the user determines their level of positivity. Social and political change can be proposed, and the user decides whether or not it is wise to be involved. With every share, each user has a chance to pitch their own ideas into the universe, and with every reaction, each user has a chance to create a more positive or negative social environment.
Here are some ways YES is planning to use social media to make the World Wide Web a slightly better place this year:
Youth Employment Service has been serving the Ithaca community for over 35 years. Our mission is to prepare teens for job success and connect them to work opportunities in the larger community. Since our program has helped so many teens throughout so many years, we thought this would be a great time to reconnect with past YES teens who have become successful, working members of their community. Keep an eye out by following us @yesithaca on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for stories about people who got their #StartWithYES.
TV YES is our YouTube channel. So far, you’ll find a few collections of application and interview tips from Snagajob, a photo montage of some of our YES teens working at their summer jobs, and a few short videos introducing our year-round staff. As the year progresses, we hope to create several career exploration videos, in which our teens interview various professionals around the community to find out what they do and what kind of training they needed to get there. Keep an eye out on out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for announcements about new videos, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu5ciEzoKxX1RgHTe6SzeWg.
Over the past four months, the YES team has been getting to know the teens of Ithaca by asking a single question to as many teens as possible. These questions have ranged from, “Have you ever had a job before?” to, “Do you think high school prepares you for the real world?” We use the data we collect to create blog posts (like what you’re reading right now!) that offer work-related tips, and we post the results on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter every two weeks. In case you’ve stumbled upon this article outside of our blog, please check it out by visiting http://yesithaca.org/blog.
Snapchat Under Construction
We did it. We got a Snapchat. So far we haven’t done anything awesome with it, but the goal is to come up with some solid snaps and stories for all who follow to see. One way we hope to use Snapchat this year is by adding up to date, teen-friendly job postings as we find out about them. To watch our Snapchat awesomeness unfold, add us -- yes14850.
Does social media have a positive impact on us and the world around us? Who knows, but at least we, here at YES, are trying our hardest to make the World Wide Web a slightly better place. Don’t forget to add, follow, and subscribe!
Name: Molly Bargar
I work for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ithaca and Tompkins County (a program of the Ithaca Youth Bureau). We match children in the community with adult mentors and then support the matches to make sure they're successful.
I got my first real job through YES when I was 16, working as a camp counselor for the Playgrounds Camp. I always knew that I wanted to work with children and YES gave me an opportunity to do this in a formal way. Although this was almost 20 years ago, I remember that the YES staff always provided me with the support I needed to succeed in my job, including helping me with tax forms, which I found very mysterious at the time. Obviously, I've had very positive experiences with the Youth Bureau, because I've been working here as an adult for the last 12 years!
It’s the first week of January. Our planet begins a new revolution around the Sun. Everyone is coming down off a massive sugar high brought on by the holidays. We struggle to replace the ‘16 with a ‘17 at the end of every date we write. We think about New Year’s Resolutions and whether they’re worth it or not.
For many people, a new calendar year is the perfect time to make a lasting change in their life. According to Sarah Pruitt of the History Channel, the tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions dates back 4,000 years to ancient Babylon and a 12 day long festival in which they welcomed the new year, re-pledged allegiance to their king, promised to repay all of their debts, and returned anything they had borrowed over the past year.
In 2017, the Statistic Brain Research Institute estimates that 41% of Americans typically make some kind of New Year’s Resolution, and Ithaca’s teens aren’t too far removed from that estimate. Based on a survey of 380 Ithaca teens, YES found that 43% had made a New Year’s Resolution. These resolutions were, for the most part, about making changes to improve their health and wellness, doing better in school, spending time with their friends, investing more time in a hobby or extracurricular activity, saving money, and working up the courage to ask someone special out on a date. For the other 57%, making a resolution didn’t seem worth it because they knew they would never follow through or it’s just not a convenient time to try to make any kind of changes in their life.
Making a resolution seems simple. I resolve to get more sleep. I resolve to stop biting my fingernails. I resolve to… fill in the blank. It’s easy to see the things in life that you want to change. The tough part is making a change that lasts. In fact, the Statistic Brain Research Institute reports less than 10% of people are successful in achieving their New Year’s Resolutions.
Many people don’t care that their resolution won’t be reached, and some to the point of not even making one at all. But if you are resolved to achieve your resolution, try these three tips:
1. Be Specific
It’s tough to know if you’ve really met your resolution if you don’t have a specific end in mind. Someone whose resolution is to get more sleep will be less successful than someone who resolves to sleep at least 8 hours per night. When approaching your own personal resolution, avoid using words like “more,” “less,” “better,” etc. Instead of doing better in school, resolve to obtain a specific grade in a specific class. Rather than eating less junk food, resolve to eat only one dessert per week.
2. Have a Plan
Many people fail to achieve their resolutions because they don’t know how they will approach it. Someone who resolves to get 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 times per week has a specific resolution but if they stop at that, they will never succeed. They may start strong and exercise three days in a row, then lose motivation, and forget to exercise at all the following week. In addition to a resolution, they should also plan to exercise at a specific time of day on specific days of the week, such as every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as soon as the school day ends. Someone hoping to stop biting their fingernails might plan to chew a piece of gum instead, and someone who wants to sleep at least 8 hours per night should plan a specific bedtime to achieve their resolution.
3. Set Goals Along the Way
Another reason people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions is because they are ultimately too big, and the end result is too distant to be meaningful. For example, if someone resolves to get at least a B in Global Studies and plans to do so by studying every night for 20 minutes, they may become discouraged and give up when in the very first week because they only study once for 15 minutes. A better way to approach this resolution is by gradually increasing study time. They could begin by studying every day for just 5 minutes and gradually increase to 20. Alternately, they could start by studying for 20 minutes on just 1 night and then slowing increase the number of nights they study. Setting short term goals that contribute to your ultimate resolution is a far more gratifying way to achieve something big.
For a more in-depth look at ways to achieve your goals and complete your resolutions, check out the YES Guide to Starting Strong, and get all the resources you’ll need to succeed.
"New Year's Resolution Statistics." Statisticbrain.com. Statistic Brain Research Institute, 1 Jan. 2017. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.
Pruitt, Sarah. "The History of New Year's Resolutions." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 30 Dec. 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.