Fuego Youth Leadership Program
Fuego is a youth leadership opportunity for high school excited about deepening their technical skills, learning leadership skills, and supporting The Crucible’s youth classes. Fuego leaders progress from immersive creative classwork to the exploration of possible career opportunities. Since 2010, 51 students have participated in the Fuego leadership program, and 34 are still engaged and/or employed with us!
“It has given me the chance to learn skills out of the norm as in […] you wouldn’t expect a 16 year old to know how to weld […] it gave me an extracurricular on my high school app. […] Finally it has given me my first experience of work.”
“Seeing the students pour made me proud, because you get to know them by teaching them. So in a way when your students accomplish a task so do you. […] The way the students look up to you makes being an intern inspirational.”
“I have learned how to interact with youth better. I have also further developed my artistic skills […] I can use these skills in applying in other jobs at youth camps or any jobs that require leadership skills. […] I set an example for the youth through my actions […] The Crucible rocks!“
“I have learned how to Blacksmith and weld and I am learning much more. In the future I know that if college is not for me, I can go to a trade school and easily gain a skill and have a job in the future.”
Ten new Fuego students are selected each year and ten returning students are encouraged to return for a second year. In 2016, there was an 80% return rate for the second-year group. In order to apply, students must have completed at least three Crucible classes and be recommended by Crucible faculty or staff. Each Fuego student is paired with an experienced faculty instructor for two summers, with the goal of developing career skills, establishing rewarding relationships with mentors, and becoming leaders. Fuego positions are paid and participants work as summer camp teaching assistants, provide industrial arts demonstrations onsite and at Oakland festivals and cultural events, and mentor younger students.
Soliah Toldon came to The Crucible in 2012 as a 12-year-old scholarship student. Since then she has taken a vast variety of industrial art classes including Welded Sculpture, Sand Casting, Glass Fusing, Glass Blowing, and Glass Flameworking. Now, Soliah is honing her skills in glass blowing and mentoring younger students as a Fuego leader.
Jorge Randeros is focusing on MIG welding in the Fuego program. Vintage manufacturing intrigues him, which is why he chose to make a penny-farthing bicycle. In designing the project, he researched many images of vintage bicycles and attempted to replicate them as closely as possible. Detail and precision are two things that are very important to Jorge, not only in his sculptures, but also in his everyday life. Participating in the Fuego program has improved his teaching skills, which is something that will be important for the rest of his life.
Reginae Hightower has been a student at The Crucible for ten years, and she has had the opportunity to explore all of the different classes the Crucible has to offer. In 2016, Reginae became a first-year Fuego leader. She enjoyed creating her individual project for her portfolio. Fuego taught her how to communicate with children her age and younger. She discovered being a teaching assistant was very enjoyable, and she likes to bond with the students.