Working with children can provide a glimpse of the future in more ways than one. This was the case for six teens in Youth Outreach Services (YOS) Summer Youth Employment Program at Touch by An Angel Daycare on Chicago’s west side.
Trina Brown, administrative director of Touch by An Angel Daycare, says she is granting a lifetime experience for the six teenagers she employs this summer through the YOS program.
“I want the youth to have self-confidence, knowledge and insight on real employment,” said Brown. “While working in a daycare, they get a taste of all of that.” Brown says that her teen employees are responsible for internal and external sanitation and supervision of the daycare children.
Touch by An Angel Daycare has been around for more than 10 years and has 3 facilities in Chicago’s Austin community. Brown’s daughter, Angel, is the owner of the daycare.
Brown says she told the teens her expectations of employment on day one, most importantly: utmost professionalism. The six young people employed this summer are getting the full picture on what it’s like to hold a job, including the challenges.
Javonte, 18, will be a senior this fall at Urban Prep. He says that working as a teen at a daycare has been an overall great experience.
“I’ve learned leadership and patience while working at the daycare,” he said. “This summer job has not only taught me the true meaning of working, but it has also provided me with the tools that I will one day need to be a parent.”
Javonte explains how difficult it has been working with younger children, but admits that he wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else.
Seventeen-year-old Julian, agrees. Julian says that his summer job at Touch by An Angel Daycare has taught him quite a few things that he had no idea he’d ever come up against.
“I’ve learned how to have more patience and to just enjoy myself with the kids at the daycare,” Julian says. “These are not my children and that could be a challenge. However, people have put their kids’ lives in my hands. This has taught me to be a more responsible person.”
Julian speaks as a teen that does not have responsibilities of a parent. However, two teens employed by the daycare this summer are young parents who know very much what it means to be responsible for younger children.
Quintin, 18 and Shamare, 20, just recently welcomed their son into this world. Although they are both getting lifelong lessons by working at Touch by An Angel Daycare this summer, they realize that parenthood is the real challenge.
“I do this so that my son can have a better life,” says Quintin. “I’ve realized while working at the daycare and being a parent that all kids are different.”
Shamare, the mother of his child, says working for YOS Summer Employment Program has enabled her to save money for her own apartment to share with her son.
“I love becoming a woman,” Shamare says. “Working this summer for Youth Outreach Services has allowed me to be the woman I am supposed to be.”
Airiel, 17, believes that this summer experience has basically kept him alive.
“There is so much happening in the streets this summer,” says Airiel. “Having a summer job has kept me out of trouble and I can continue to do positive things. I have Youth Outreach Services to thank for that.”
By Veronica Adkins
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