Helping Hands Program Offers Employment to Local Youth
“Summer-time and the living is easy,” which often times means teens are bored, getting into trouble and testing adults’ boundaries.
Thanks to Helping Hands, in partnership with Columbia Urban League, Inc., forty local teens (including several of our own residents) have been lucky enough to land a summer job!
The teens involved are either in foster care or are considered at-risk and are between 14- and 19-years-old.
One of 16 job sites are offered through the Aiken Youth Leadership Development Institute (YLDI) program which is overseen by Aiken Youth Empowerment (AYE), a program of Helping Hands.
AYE Community Educator Kandace Cave stated that after the teens complete a 20-hour employment-readiness job camp in Columbia, SC, they undergo a “career assessment and interest inventory through the Work Keys program.” This assessment helps figure out which job would be a best fit for each teen.
The jobs also allow the teens several opportunities to grow, as several fundamental skills are developed. These skills include “leadership development, job-skills training, career development, college preparation, service-learning, STEM skills, cultural activities and scholarship opportunities.”
“The summer work experience of the YLDI program provides young people positive opportunities that allow youth to exercise leadership, gain employability skills, build self-esteem and earn money,” explained Ms. Kandace.
Keeping our community’s youth off the streets and out of trouble is a main goal of AYE and its programs. Ms. Kandace strongly believes that this opportunity is essential in keeping our community youth focused and motivated to stay out of trouble. The participating teens are “less likely to be involved in risky behaviors such as drugs, gang activity and sexual activity if they are busy working,” stated Ms. Kandace.
For more information about Columbia Urban League, Inc., visit www.columbiaurbanleague.org.