The Thinkubator, a Bronx based nonprofit organization, announced the launch of its fall programs having received more than 120 applicants for only 60 available slots in its Think Tank.
On Oct. 6, The Thinkubator TRAINS program kicked off with a week-long orientation, which placed 20 kids in internship-like experiences. It was piloted this past summer in collaboration with the Borough President’s office and RAP4BRONX.
“The goal of Thinkubator TRAINS is to give Bronx youth professional experiences that will impact their lives, decision-making, and goals,” Assistant Director of Internships, Sharone Wellington-deAnda said. “Our students respond to responsibility by exceeding expectations while fostering greater commitment to the community they live in.”
It will also offer Bronx teens two paid work-based learning experiences where kids will discuss civics and be able to voice their thoughts on a larger scale.
This summer, partner RAP4Bronx worked with Thinkubator and provided work-based learning experiences to five interns. The teens researched and discussed food insecurity within their neighborhoods, engaged with nonprofits and spoke about local urban farming.
“The students were not only interested in the work, but dedicated and driven to learn more,” stated Shana McCormick of RAP4Bronx. “They assisted with vital day to day operations such as recording of volunteer time, maintaining and updating contact information, and communicated with the various community based organizations that RAP4Bronx services.”
The Thinkubator will soon introduce The Thinkubator Solves program, a partnership with DreamYard and HERE to HERE, where kids work with industry partners on a company challenge. This will pair up 24 students and two companies.
“We’re excited for two more opportunities for young people to show how their innovation and intelligence can solve real world problems facing businesses and society today” stated Max Griffith, assistant director of The Thinkubator.
The Thinkubator also launched The Thinkubator Leads, a youth council that focuses on the voices of Bronx kids. The Thinkubator Youth Council is a newly formed group that aims to unite young people and foster relationships between youth and community-based organizations.
Fifteen students will participate and its first meeting is on Oct. 26.
“The launch of the Youth Council allows us to walk our talk in terms of bringing power to youth voices,” stated Julian Joyner, lead facilitator and manager of Youth Voice. “Participants will have the ability to tackle real-life issues impacting their community and beyond with the resources and support of The Thinkubator organization.”
In addition to the youth programs, The Thinkubator will conduct research so it can provide recommendations on how to improve issues its youth are facing. Launching The Think Tank at The Thinkubator was based on a paper written by intern and high school student Naomi Okunrobo titled “The Overcoming of Food Deserts and Food Swamps in The Bronx.”
Dr. Lessie Branch, associate professor of business at the Metropolitan College of New York and director of The Think Tank at The Thinkubator, hopes more teens have the mindset of Okunrobo.
“I am excited to be named Director of The Think Tank at The Thinkubator,” Branch said. “Now is a crucial moment in the public policy space. There has been a sleight of hand that has transferred public or collective responsibility of care and concern to individuals but the accompanying resources or assets to address the challenges have not transferred. Today’s youth are not tomorrow’s, but today’s change agents!”