CARE to Work

Teens working summer jobs

Avery Lynn, Reporter

Summer jobs are common among teenagers. Summertime is the time of the year where many students seek jobs whether it is purely meant to gain money or for the job experience. Students have more free time in the summer and a desire to earn money while away from school. The Career Awareness Related Experience (CARE) program is a service run by the city of Columbia that focuses on giving young adults the opportunity to gain work experience and support productivity in a work environment.

The CARE program targets at-risk youth and young adults between the ages of 14-20 years old. Teenage brains are developing and are easily impressionable. The CARE program helps Teenage students become more productive by giving the opportunity to teenage students to be a part of an organized job. The target audience for the CARE program are the prime age for positive influence, and that is what CARE is attempting to accomplish.

The city of Columbia and Columbia Parks and Recreation run the CARE program. This program was started in 1982 with the desire to better the community by helping at-risk youth. The motto for the program: “Investing in our Youth, Investing in our Future” reflects the goals of the program in the short term, while hinting at a goal for the long term.

The CARE program helps those involved in the program to learn about life skills that they can use in their everyday life and to develop more as a member of society. Senior Abigail Newman participated in the CARE Art Program in the summer of 2018.

Newman describes what benefits she received from her experience in the program that summer,

“The CARE program really helped me venture out and be more social with people and get out more.” She continued, “I also think that it helped me understand money a lot more because I didn’t have a source of income before.”

Young adults and teenagers use the program to get a job for the summer, and make a little bit of cash. As a teen it might be intimidating getting your first job, and many places will not hire young people. Students in their teens can be intimidated and will not search for a job.

Senior Jacob D’Agostino briefly explained what it is like to get a summer job with the CARE program.“If you’re unsure about it there’s no reason to, it’s like getting a normal job with extra help.”

D’Agostino felt confident with his time in the CARE program and participated in CARE for two summers, one summer at the age 14, and the other at the age 15.

CARE is not a nationwide program, which can leave large numbers of youth from getting the support that the program can provide. AP Biology and Zoology teacher Rachel Tinsley stated that she wished there was a program available to her when she was younger. Tinsley views the program highly further stating that it could have given her more opportunities, and acted as a link between school and the job force.

CARE programs take place every summer. the program suggests submitting a application as early as possible to when the application process opens. The application process for the summer of 2019 has already come to a close, but the summer of 2020 will open up for submissions later on in 2019.