Youth Summer Jobs Program
Holy Cross Parish
The Summer Jobs program gives young people the opportunity to learn life skills that will increase their future employability while earning an income at the same time. In addition the kids stay engaged with positive activities that build pride and self-esteem in an environment that rewards and values service to the community.
Before teens can adopt leadership roles in the community, they must have some basic skills, not all of which can be learned in the classroom. Young people need to learn how to conduct themselves in a professional environment and how to work collaboratively. Such programs are even more essential in Back of the Yards, which in recent years has had an unemployment rate about double the state and national rates.
Youth in the program have different categories of jobs available to them depending on their skill set, age, and time available to devote to a job—ranging from garden assistant to camp counselor. The number of jobs available in each category fluctuates annually and depends on the amount of funding available that year. Young people must show a history of service to the community to be hired for any of the positions.
Beyond keeping young people off the street and away from violence, this program teaches them job skills and professional responsibility. All the young employees are overseen by experienced parish staff who help them build professional résumés and build interview skills throughout their employment at the parish.
Just as important as an income and necessary life skills, these jobs build a strong sense of self-worth and pride. Having responsibility and receiving recognition for their hard work builds confidence in their capabilities, which is the first step towards seeing themselves as leaders who can create positive change, even as teens. Developing strong community leaders disrupts the cycles of poverty and violence and offers hope.