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LEAPS 2011 Highlights
If you were at the 4th annual LEAPS conference than you know that it was a great success, if you weren't we sure hope to see you at the 5th annual LEAPS next year!
This year, for the first time ever, LEAPS was held in the Dorchester area at partner union 1199 SEIU. The participants enjoyed the spaciousness of our meeting the meeting location and took full advantage of the great accomodations. Over 40 teens from across the state joined TL@W for our annual conference where they learned important information about their workplace rights as youth, safe and healthy working practices, sexual harassment and leadership skills to help them both personally and professionally.
On the first day the teens enjoyed lots of getting to know each other activities so that they would become familiar with each other and learn more about the people they would be spending the next three days with. They also learned about how workplace injuries have effected young people just like them, some fatally.
On Thrusday we began the day with another LEAPS first. A press conference co-hosted with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. At the press conference the first, second and third place winners of the Safe Jobs poster contest (facilitated by MassCOSH and the YES Team) were announced. The peer leaders as well as DPH commissioner John Auerbach spoke about how important it is for young people to identify unsafe working conditions and speak up about them.
After the press conference the participants settled in for an afternoon of trainings from the peer leaders. Using fun and interactive presentations they learned the importance of understanding body language, identifying hazards and knowing their workplace rights.
AThursday night, everyone got together for some much deserved down time at Boston Bowl.
On the last day the guest presentors came in and engaged the participants in a range of topics. Al Vega and Jeff Newton from MassCOSH illustrated how groups could use the media to their advantage. Stephanie Trilling from the Boston Rape Area Crisis Center (BARCC) discussed the importance of setting comfortable boundaries for yourself and your organization and recognizing that different people may have different boundaries. Sara Rattigan from the Department of Public Health, Sherely Cruz from the Mass Attorney General's Office, and Carol Bates from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) led a discussion on the various workplace laws and health and safety issues that all young workers should be aware of. Even former TL@W Mass Promise Fellow Niea Gardner led the group in a discussion on civic awareness.
Once it was all said and done the groups got together and plotted out their community action plan. We had a final awards ceremony and sadly said our goodbyes, knowing of course that we would be reuniting in a few months for the 2011 LEAPS Return Summit!