Philly Proud: Teens learn work skills through summer jobs

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Teenagers of all ages gathered at the Grand Ballroom in West Philadelphia this August to present their final projects.

The topic: teaching coping skills to rise above the negative influence of peer pressure.

"Learned a lot things, that even on a small scale there are things that we need to cope with and distinguish between healthy ways and unhealthy ways," said Reheema Jamaladeen.

"You have to let them figure it out in their own way, but still be there for them, because before they have different ways of trying to figure out how to deal with certain situations," said Atiya Keo.

These final presentations were not for school but the closing celebration of Urban Affairs Coalition Summer Youth Employment Program in conjunction with the Philadelphia Youth Network and the City's workforce development office.

UAC President and CEO Sharmain Matlock-Turner considers this program of the utmost importance to engage the city's youth.

"When I joined the coalition, I took on the effort because I saw the number of jobs were dwindling," said Matlock-Turner. "We want to be able to say to every student, every young person in the city as they enter high school - we want you to think about the jobs you want every summer so when you graduate from high school you not only have a diploma but you have great work history and experience, and you really have a dream for your future."

Funds come from the city, state and federal government, along with individuals and companies to fund this job and internship program.

"The work-ready youth summer program is an amazing program where our youth get to go to different work sites and develop worksite skills," said program coordinator Kayveen Grant.

"The summer job I had this year was working at Friend Indeed. Friend Indeed is becoming a friend to the community when the youth needs one," said Keo. "In the summer we go out to summer camps and help the youth, arts and crafts, just being there for them maybe when they don't have a sibling or when they want to be around other people."

"This summer I was an intern at State Rep. Jason Dawkins Office," said Jamaladeen. "When the constituents come in I'm able to help them most of the time. The adults there are very supportive, they don't be hard on you when you make a mistake, they are very encouraging you for you to learn how to do your job right."

And they got paid for their work!

For more information:

Urban Affairs Coalition

Summer Youth Employment Program
1207 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-851-0110
http://www.uac.org/
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