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The TORCH Program, changes the lives of underserved New York City public high school students by exposing them to career opportunities and training in the communications and new media fields. Limited resources prevent many NYC high schools from including a comprehensive school-to-work curriculum. TORCH helps fill the void by providing students with the opportunity to define career goals, explore career options and interests, and gain actual on the job training. Ultimate goals for TORCH include participants' graduation from high school and college with a direction and formulated goals, as well as an increased presence of minorities within the communications and new media fields.
Program participants meet weekly after school and work on various projects that give them hands on experience. Additionally, TORCH plans various college visits and workshops for students throughout the year focusing on topics such as resume writing and interviewing skills. In the summer, TORCH places students in paying internships to allow them to further explore career opportunities. Students have completed projects in interactive, which include the creation and updating of the TORCH website (www.thetorchprogram.org). TORCH students also created, and continue to produce, the TORCH newsletter, TORCH Today, on a quarterly basis for journalism projects. Additionally, TORCH students have expressed themselves through the medium of visual arts for several video projects. Every spring students plan, promote, and produce a city wide talent competition called MUSIC FEST. This annual music project provides an opportunity for TORCH to engage other students throughout the city as they participate as performers and audience members. Currently wrapping up its third programming year, TORCH serves close to 100 New York City public high school students. Following the first group of TORCH participants graduation from high school in June 2002, TORCH instituted the Alumni Relations Program (ARP) that offers continued support to program participants throughout their college years. The objective of the ARP is to further enhance the development of the participants career goals, and to encourage them to become mentors and role models to younger participants. To meet these goals, TORCH has incorporated activities that promote a sense of group belonging, with access to program resources and services for alumni, throughout the college years and beyond.
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