By William S. Coleman III
It is so good to see the positive, high energy of young adults working throughout the city of Worcester at many summer job locations to making our neighborhoods clean and safe. Thanks to the help and leadership of the city and community leaders we were able to secure $1,723,368 to provide 1,211 summer jobs for our city youth.
It is very important for the city of Worcester to provide summer jobs for city youth, fun activities for families and a place to cool off. The public safety of our community is dependent upon our city being a welcoming place that is safe and secure for all of our residents and visitors.
The city with state aid and the support of the business community and private foundations along with Community Development Block Grant Funding made a positive effort to help our young people develop positive work experiences.
According to Jesse Edwards, City of Worcester, “With state Youth Works funds all the youth are paid $8 per hour. WCAC Coordinates that program and some of the larger employers are the Boys & Girls Club and YouthGrow. UMass’s program Building Brighter Futures with Youth also employs a large number of youth using their own funds all are great programs to highlight.”
As I drove around the city and observed young people doing their summer jobs I had the opportunity to speak with many and they were all grateful to have jobs, make new friends and welcome the opportunity of helping their families with some of their summer earnings.
I spent some time with the youths from the Pho Hien Vietnamese Buddhist Temple on 96 Dewey St. they were working on Chandler Street, helping to make their neighborhood much cleaner and pedestrian-friendly place for all residents to eat and shop. This is the third consecutive year in which the youths have worked on summer projects reclaiming public sidewalks from the hordes of trash on the side of the street curbs; or from the forever growing bushes and overgrown trees that usually cover half the sidewalk (which forces pedestrians to take the more dangerous route on the streets).Within the job the youths trim bushes, cut dead trees and grow new trees, weed out the sidewalks and streets, pick up trash, and mulch tree beds; in that sense anything to make the neighborhood more appealing to the residents and businesses. The youths from the temple cover a huge range within district 4, from intersections of Chandler and Park to the intersection of Chandler and Main and also from Pleasant to the intersection of Piedmont and Main streets.
There are a total of 10 youths with a youth supervisor that work under this program. The group has an age range from from 16 all the way to 21 years old. The youths come from many different educational backgrounds with some attending high school and others attending college. Here are the list of the summer youth workers.The youth supervisor is Hung Nguyen who is the President of the youth organization at the Temple and is also currently attending University of Massachusetts Amherst class of 2012 majoring in Poly-Sci. The youths are: Rittha Tran who has just recently graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst this year as sociology major, Hieu Nguyen who is also attending University of Massachusetts Amherst class of 2014 as physics major, Minh Ly who just graduated from Claremont Academy this year and will be attending University of Massachusetts Amherst as a Physics Major as well, Chien Nguyen who is attending New England Tech on becoming an Electrician, Thu Ly and Linh Hoang who are attending South High School class of 2012, Hung Ngo and Loi Tran attending University Park Campus School class of 2013, Tan Trieu attending Claremont Academy class of 2013, and finally Khang Ta who graduated South High this year and will be attending Worcester State as an un-declared.
All the youths work with their best efforts to make the neighborhood a much cleaner and safer place for everyone and gain satisfaction from reviewing their progress on streets they have worked on.
Throughout our city “on the move” we must continue reach to out to our city youth at every stage and provide opportunities for safe places to play and to improve educational and learning opportunities with recognition for the good work youth and adults contribute to our city. We all must work for a safe and clean city.
There were 121 youths working the Wheels to Water Program, a program that helped Worcester families find a cool place to swim and have safe family fun. Five students were hired as park stewards. 230 young people worked with UMASS Memorial Health Care, Building Brighter Futures with Youth Program. By far the largest number of youth concentration was with the Worcester Public Schools Work Plus Program which employed 400. UMASS medical hired 25 young people. Mass Bar Foundation hired 20. Project Yes hired 22. YouthWorks hired approximately 360 youth.
Summer jobs from last year are down from 2010. In 2010 the city and community leaders coordinated $2.3 million in funding to support 1,500 jobs. In 2011 1.7 million in funding supported 1,211 jobs.
We need more for year ‘round programs to employ youth. Many of our young people are helping their families with money as they complete their education in these tough economic times. I congratulate the young people for their work to help make our city clean and safe.