Partnership for After School Education


Lucinda Randolph-Benjamin, who works mainly as a youth trainer and staff developer, has designed a variety of programs at the Extension, serving diverse groups from across New York, including young people, staff, and community organizations.  She describes her work as, "taking young people where they are and propelling them toward the future."  To this end, Randolph-Benjamin created the College Interview Program, which prepares over 250 underprivileged young people a year for the college application process through essay development workshops and mock interviews with alumni of Columbia University's Teacher's College.  Furthermore, Randolph-Benjamin created "College Interview 2", a program that brings together recent alumni and adolescents preparing for college to discuss the college experience, from the challenges of the first year to how to parlay a college degree into a career.  

Working in the aftermath of September 11th, Randolph-Benjamin applied the principles of 4-H to create an outlet for young people to explore their emotions related to the attacks by developing "Conversations with Youth," a four-part workshop series addressing post-9/11 and other emergency situation issues.  In addition to discussing immediate effects of the disaster, Randolph-Benjamin designed the program with a forward-looking approach and elicited young people's input on the future of New York.  "We decided to be proactive," she said.  "[We asked], what would you like to see happen in neighborhoods?"  

Although her career did not start in youth development, Randolph-Benjamin has found her gift and made it her career.  To this end, she followed up her bachelor's degree with an M.S. in Special Education.  Randolph-Benjamin's experience with youth ranges from those she dubbed "tough to not so tough," including incarcerated youth.  Throughout, however, her commitment and enthusiasm for working with all young people has remained.  "I love being with them and I think they love being with me, because I talk with them, not at them," she said, adding, "My inspiration comes from God, and this is the work he's set forth."