Summer jobs can prevent violence, group says

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In the same neighborhoods where gunshots are common, plenty of teenagers have chosen a different path. (WLS)

In the same neighborhoods where gunshots are common, plenty of teenagers have chosen a different path: work.

Programs funded by the city, state and grants are helping them get those jobs.

Kentrell Powell likes work, whether outside in a yard or inside at an office. The 17-year old is a paid intern at a small nursing services company.

"Without this program, I don't know what I would be doing right now," Powell said.

He found his job through the St. Sabina Church Employment Resource Center, which helps teenagers stay off the streets by getting them jobs at various South Side businesses. The money to pay the kids comes from the city, state and grants.

"We are trying to teach them how to have careers and be productive and to start to think about what I like to do," Lisa Ramsey, St. Sabina Employment Resource, said.

Ramsey said it's a myth that inner city teenagers don't want to work or be successful.

"All of them want to make money the right way, but they need someone that can help them go to that place," she said.

Integrity Nursings Services relies on its summer teenage workers, according to Veronica Buckles.

"They are learning multitask, they do filing, chart checks, input into the computer," Buckles said.

"Since I've been here, I think I want to become a doctor," Powell said.

In the Back of the Yards neighborhood, putting kids on the right path is the goal of the he city's Green Corp Program, which teaches kids how to build bikes and gardens.

"It feels good you know you're actually being productive and not in trouble stuff like that," Juan Gomez said.

Ramsey would like to see more funding for job programs throughout the entire year. Right now, most of the opportunities for teenagers are for the summer only.
Related Topics:
familychicago violencestop the violenceChicago - Back-of-the-YardsChicago - Auburn Gresham
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