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South Norwalk Library celebrates Mayor’s Summer Youth students

Joy Futaba DeJaeger talks about the history and culture of Japanese culture using popular culture to highlight her discussion and to dispel myths. From left are Arielle Robert, Abigail Robert, Hailey Roy and Mia DeJaeger. (Sherelle Harris)

Correction, 7:40 p.m.: Kamil Bryan will be a high school senior. 

NORWALK, Conn. – Each year the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program students who are sent to the South Norwalk Library help with library duties in addition to being assigned to create a project on their own. They are given one to two hours a few days a week to meet and work on their project.

This year, students Kamil Bryan, Abigail Robert, Arielle Robert, and Hailey Roy created the program An International Evening, held Tuesday at the South Norwalk Library. The evening entailed crafts, a guess the flag game, speakers from Ecuador, India, Jamaica, Japan and great food.  The food included empanadas from Latin America, quimbolitos from Ecuador, banana pudding African American style, curry chicken and rice and peas from Jamaica, tacos from Mexico, black rice and fried plantain from Haiti, Rice and Beef from the Dominican Republic, kesari from India, and more.

  • Kamil Bryan is heading into her senior year at Brien McMahon High School.  Her favorite subjects are English and history.  Kamil is looking forward to attending Syracuse University in Syracuse New York.
  • Abigal Robert will enter her junior year at Brien McMahon High School.  Her favorite subjects are art and English.
  • Arielle Robert, Abigail’s fraternal twin sister, is also heading into her junior year at Brient McMahon High School.  Her favorite subjects are English, history and film.
  • Hailey Roy will be a junior at Norwalk High School.  Her favorite subject is math.

 

The girls were also given the option to have their own summer book club in order to bond and read together. They decided to have the club and of the books introduced to them, they chose The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo.  The book was published in 2002 and won the Carnegie Medal for Children’s Literature. It’s about two children whose journalist father has them smuggled out of Nigeria to escape the repercussions  of his outspoken journalism.  The smuggler is paid to get them to his brother in London, but not to care or to  babysit.  When they get to London and find that their uncle’s number is disconnected and the smuggler leaves them, they have to figure things out for themselves.

Mayor Rilling, Senator Bob Duff, and Darlene Young who runs the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program stopped by to mingle with a highly diverse crowd and to congratulate the young ladies on their leadership and teamwork.

Hailey Roy, who volunteered at the South Norwalk Branch Library during the spring, will join the library team  as a shelver.

Milania Manuel illustrates the history and culture of South India with a PowerPoint presentation. (Sherelle Harris)

Darlene Young, Director of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program, speaks to the joy and rewarding experience of running the program during Tuesday’s South Norwalk Branch Library’s International Evening. The program was the project work of the students who were assigned to the SoNo Branch Library this summer. (Sherelle Harris)

Mayor Harry Rilling addresses the audience at the South Norwalk Branch Library’s International Evening on Tuesday. The program was the project work of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program students who were assigned to the SoNo Branch Library this summer. From left are Arielle Robert, Abigail Robert, Hailey Roy, Kamil Bryan, and Mayor Harry Rilling. (Sherelle Harris)

State Sen. Bob Duff is aglow as he speaks to the importance supporting the many cultures in Norwalk
and the importance of supporting the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program during Tuesday’s South
Norwalk Branch Library’s International Evening. The program was the project work of the students who worked at the SoNo Branch Library this summer. From left are Arielle Robert, Abigail Robert, Hailey Roy, Kamil Bryan, and State Sen. Bob Duff. (Sherelle Harris)

The Guess the Flag game included facts about the Philippines and many countries and islands. (Sherelle Harris)

The Guess the Flag game included facts about the Kenya and other countries and islands. (Sherelle Harris)

4 comments

RayJ August 18, 2019 at 7:31 am

Thanks to all who contribute to this worthwhile activity. Back in the day, I read books from a summer reading list at the library

Steve Mann August 18, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Kudos to all these kids who choose to spend their time so wisely! And to the library for their efforts.

Mia DeJaeger August 18, 2019 at 8:00 pm

We really enjoyed hearing about the different cultures and seeing the similarities more than differences. Thanks to those dedicated high school students who organized such an informational as well as yummy event!

J M Williams August 18, 2019 at 10:24 pm

I am proud of the work being done in my neighbor library, which is the
South Norwalk Branch Library.

This program is just one example of how the youth are pushed to the spirit of excellence. They have a leader who knows how to lead behind the scenes while letting the others get the credit.

I hope these young ladies appreciate the work that was done with them and the fantastic opportunity they were given. It was nice that the program was captured for them in this article. Kudos to the writer of this article and to all involved in making this program a success!

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