Camps give disadvantaged Washtenaw County youths chance to learn about careers
While many youths spend their summer vacations playing video games and sleeping in late, others are preparing themselves for the working world.
YouthWorks and Careers With Critters, two camps offered by the Community Action Network, allow children from low-income families to learn about various careers, along with the skills needed to land a job.
YouthWorks is partially funded by Washtenaw County Employment Training and Community Services and uses federal stimulus money to supply classroom learning and on-location work for 75 qualifying Washtenaw County residents ages of 14 to 21.
Two days a week, participants work at their chosen paid internship. They get hands-on experience learning about careers in health care, alternative energy, eldercare, farming, childcare or landscaping.
“I want to get into automotive design. This will be real helpful for me trying to design fuel-efficient cars,” said Brittany Laham,17, of the alternative energy internship. She is a Pioneer High School student.
The groups meet to learn financial and entrepreneurial skills. Group leaders help the participants develop business plans and market their skills.“We did a fashion show where they had to come in, dress up and act like they were being interviewed by a committee, and they got asked a lot of questions,” said Karen McDonald, the soft-skills coordinator.
The Careers With Critters camp is designed to give participants who are about 10 years old the chance to learn about animal care professions.
“We’ve been going on some cool trips, learning about careers," said Martell Johnson, 12, an Ann Arbor Tappan Middle School student who would like a career rescuing chimps.
The camp has visited the Leslie Science and Nature Center, met a leader dog and learned about animal rescue.
“We saw this place called (Retired Greyhounds as Pets) where they take dogs from the track that had been beaten and stuff like that,” said Shah'Liah Napier, 11, another Tappan Middle School student.“ We’ve been feeding the dogs and giving them treats.”
Both camps work with advisers at 826michigan to learn writing skills and to blog about their experiences.
Photo by Ann Dwyer for AnnArbor.com: Brittany Laham, 15, waters bean plants at Ann Arbor's Stone High School during the YouthWorks program.