NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Thirty-one enterprising New Rochelle students were the talk of the town this week, as they were celebrated for completing their summer youth employment program.
Nearly a dozen New Rochelle businesses and non-profit organizations pitched in this summer, employing the students as part of the Mount Vernon-based Guidance Center of Westchester’s Summer Youth Employment program.
Since schools let out for the summer, the students – whose ages varied between 14 and 20-years-old have been gleaning valuable employment experience, as they worked 20-hour weeks at everywhere from the Humane Society Thrift Shop to New York Fitness Professionals.
“Support from the business community helped make the program a wonderful success,” job developer Maureen Higgins noted. “The employers provided great feedback and gave encouragement along the way.”
Each of the students comes from economically challenged families, with their wages being paid for through a grant from the Westchester/Putnam Local Workforce Investment Board. Local counselors even offered job coaching and advice for participants.
Hope Terea, whose son participated in the program – working alongside the buildings and maintenance crew of the Guidance Center - praised the organization for its proactive stance in the community.
“I am incredibly grateful that my son was chosen to participate in the summer jobs program. I saw him mature and take on new responsibilities,” she said. “He gained a new appreciation for the little things he likes, and I hope he will be welcome back next summer.
For some, the part time summer employment has led to more plentiful bounties. Samantha Gragaso, a New Rochelle High School senior that aspires to work in fashion, landed a part-time job at Our Closet for the good work she put in.
“I love Samantha. It could not have been a better match. She is enthusiastic, loves coming to work and is great with customers,” owner Marie Freeman said. “In fact, she’s staying on as a part-time employee even after the grant ends.”