Spotlight Program

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August 2014

Youth Summer Jobs

Chicago, Illinois
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The Youth Summer Jobs program at Holy Cross gives neighborhood young people the opportunity to earn income while learning life skills that will greatly increase their future employability. An important additional benefit is that the kids stay positively engaged all summer with activities that build self-esteem and pride in an environment that values and awards service to the community.

These jobs give neighborhood kids an income and necessary life skills, but equally as vital, they build a strong sense of pride and self-worth. When young people are given responsibility and then are rewarded for their hard work, their confidence grows along with their abilities. For many of these kids, contributing to household expenses provides both a tremendous source of pride and a financial help to their families. Many young workers, in fact, use their summer income to purchase new clothes and school supplies for the upcoming academic year, taking that financial burden off of their families.

Youth are placed in one of the following job categories depending on their age, skills, interests, and maturity level.

  • Ages 18 and up. These are usually college students who work 15–20 hours a week mentoring and supervising younger children. These student workers are often involved in leading summer camp, music lessons, or other service projects, and they receive a regular paycheck throughout the summer.
  • Ages 16–18. These young people are involved in many of the same activities as their older peers, but work fewer hours (10–15 per week).
  • Ages 12–15. This group of kids works 10–15 hours per week and are paid a lump sum at the end of the summer. Many young people in this group work with younger children, work in the garden, help with neighborhood clean-up projects, or assist older leaders with their duties.
  • Also ages 12–15. These young workers commit to a service project for 2–4 hours a week and are awarded a gift card at the end of the summer. They tutor younger children or assist in gardening or other neighborhood clean-up projects.

Throughout their employment at the parish, all the young workers are supervised and mentored by experienced, adult parish staff. These supervisors require young people to complete résumés, interview for their positions, show up on time for their scheduled work shifts, fill out timesheets, and learn the appropriate way to call in sick or request time off.

The number of open jobs varies annually depending on the amount of funding available. Help give Holy Cross’ young people a chance to build job skills while improving their community by making a donation directly to this program or by sharing this post with your social networks.

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