RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
These days, high school students often need part-time job experience, volunteer work, good grades and possibly a sizeable scholarship to get accepted into the college or university of their choice.
To prepare Randolph teens for this future endeavor, the youth center offers the Youth Employment Skills program for high school freshmen through seniors. The program is designed to give them valuable work experience, while earning money toward college tuition.
Teens in the YES volunteer program are placed in Randolph organizations to gain work skills, while base organizations get a little extra help during the summer months.
"It's a win-win situation," said Chris Fussell, youth center assistant director. "The teens gain work experience in a career field they are interested in, while receiving money toward a college education."
The youth center works with each student to place them into an office where they can explore possible future career opportunities.
"Our volunteers are encouraged to work several summers," Ms. Fussell said. "This gives them a chance for career exploration while developing volunteer work experience they can put on their college applications."
Most volunteers are assigned to work for the youth center, the medical clinic or services division, she said.
"Our volunteers get an excellent opportunity to take responsibility for themselves by making sure they get to work on time, in proper attire, and learn to work with others in a professional workplace environment," Ms. Fussell said.
For every volunteer hour worked, volunteers are credited $4. This money is "banked" and set aside into an account until the student officially enrolls into the college or university of their choice, said Ms. Fussell.
"Money earned will not actually become tangible cash for teens this summer," she said. "But, once they are accepted into a college or vocational school, the money will be transferred through the Air Force Aid Society to the school's financial aid office."
Students may volunteer year-round depending on the organization to which they apply.
The YES program for the 2007-2008 season runs from June 1 thru May 30, 2008; however, most students only volunteer in the June through August time-frame, Ms. Fussell said.
Interested students may pick up YES program packets at the youth center and can call the youth center at 325-3298 to find out what agencies are available for assignment.