What’s Goin’ On?


Martha’s Table Teen Program is a personal growth and academic support program for teenagers in the district.  During the summer we work with DC’s Summer Youth Employment Program.  The theme for the 2011 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is “What’s Goin’ On?”.  The goal is that through daily workshops and activities, the Martha’s Table Teen Program (MTTP) and staff aim to illustrate, and in some cases, more closely examine, What’s Going On, in our communities within the District.


To have a wide variety of creative, and innovative project-based workshops that use music, video, photography, social media, and graphic design to help  our young people examine, develop and in some instance challenge, their perceptions of What Going on in their communities, as told through the eyes of a teenager presently living in the District.


This year marks the 40th anniversary of Marvin Gay’s “Whats Goin On” album, as well as Gil Scott Heron’s “Pieces of a Man” album. In their time, and still presently, both works have discussed, analyzed, and given their listeners a pictorial view of the social climate in urban communities throughout the U.S. fast forward 40 years, we find ourselves with so many oxymorons and moral inconsistencies in our society, and still find ourselves asking the simple  question of “What’s Going On”?


With the stated premise in mind, MTTP seeks to implement through provoking, creative, project-based workshops and activities, which, using the theme of What’s Goin On, examine the state of urban communities within the District; and more specifically, the area in which MT is located.  The teens will complete a video documentary, spoken word pieces, a musical album, media literacy, graphics and photography projects, a magazine, and a variety of service learning projects. Workshops will be facilitated by MTTP staff members and consultants with experience in each of the above mentioned areas, and experience in working with young people. Workshops will last 90 minutes, for 2  days per week for a total of 6 weeks and will have tangible final outcomes that will be showcased in our Annual off-site Open House event that will be attended by the teens and their families and MTTP & MT stakeholders.

Martha’s Table’s Development team recently interviewed a couple of teens in the program to find out how they think the workshops will affect them once they return to school in the fall.

Interview with students from the Teen Program – July 22nd, 2011

Mohamed Diop
Graduation Date: May 2011
Major: Pre Med

What are some of the activities you have participated in this summer?

We did photography basics and a graphics workshop. We alsobuilt websites. I am building a website about funny jokes. 

We did Focus Workshops on STD’s and Suicide, so if we have a friend who is struggling with that we can talk to them and know what to say.

We also worked on a documentary this summer asking people about the metro. Everyone did something different and I got to be the director telling everyone what to do and what to ask people.

What issues did you talk about?

The price, how clean the metro is, the new Purple line, safety issues.

What sort of community service activities did you do this summer?

A lady came in and we gave her advice on how to make anti suicide posters better for teens.

What sort of things have you done over the summer that you think will help you in the fall?

We haven’t done it yet but Tim and Selena (directors of the Teen Program) are going to have a brunch with people in college and people in high school to help them and give them advice about stuff.

Maddy Turay
Graduation: May 2012
Schools: She is looking at New York, University of Maryland
Major: Music and Graphic Design

What are some of the activities you have participated in this summer?

The Community Workshop and the Music Workshop. I liked the music workshop because I want to major in music. We also did a workshop to help with our public speaking and I am not good at public speaking. I tend to stutter. Being here has taught me to be more confident and it gave me skills to speak in front of people.

How are the things you have done this summer going to help you in the fall?

At school we have to do a portfolio presentation and talk about the different projects we have worked on during the year. Now I feel more comfortable with doing those things because of the workshops we did.

What was your favorite project?

We presented a play to the little kids. It was called “Go Cinderella”. We made the music, wrote the scripts and made costumes. It was really fun.