Ten years ago, the Rev. Dr. Henry L. Masters, former pastor at Holman United Methodist Church, involved a troubled teenager being mentored in a prayer breakfast program.
Unfortunately, the young man stole all the money collected and disappeared. That incident fueled the creation of a new program at Holman designed to give youth alternatives to taking the wrong path in life.
Called Jobs For Kids, the summer youth employment program was launched in 2003, and grew out of the church’s then 1-year-old community development corporation (CDC).
Today, that fledgling employment initiative has grown into a year-round offering that provides job readiness training, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) preparation classes and a summer employment program.
This year the employment program will operate from June 17 to Aug. 2, and the deadline for youth to apply is April 26. Students ages 14-18 (the 14-year-olds must be headed to the 10th grade in the fall) will have the opportunity to earn $8.25 per hour.
Most of the jobs provided are called career exploration employment and include working in an office, filing and customer service. There are also a few opportunities to work in schools and recreation centers.
What makes the Jobs for Kids program so unique, says Holman CDC Executive Director Nancy Harris, is that there are no income qualifications, which enables middle-class youngsters to apply for these jobs.
According to Harris, the program is funded primarily through the nonprofit’s fundraising efforts and through the grants the organization secures.
Harris said the program typically finds summer employment for 27 to 30 youth but she is hoping to increase the number young people served by raising additional funding.
One of the key ways the CDC raises money is by hosting a Gospel brunch each year. In 2013, the fundraiser will be held June 2 at 2 p.m. at the Crystal Rose, 9300 Jefferson Blvd. in Culver City. The cost to attend is $75 and tickets can be purchased by calling the CDC office at (323) 731-0140.