Officials tout youth job program

Published 10:04 pm Friday, July 15, 2011

Former and current area high school students, Selma City Council representatives and city officials gathered at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center Thursday morning to culminate the 2011 Summer Youth Employment Program.

Officials and community leaders gave presentations and demonstrations to the more than 100 teens present about bullying, the importance of staying in school, leadership and the dangers of smoking. Officials praised students for their hard work this summer.

“I want to thank each of you … and congratulate all of you for the outstanding jobs you’ve done,” Selma Mayor George Evans said. “I want to thank all of the sponsors and department heads that made this summer possible.”

Email newsletter signup

Made possible through federal contributions from the Selma City School system, program director Val Jones said the program teaches children the importance of work.

“This is an annual thing,” Jones said. “The city gave us $10,000… we had many sponsors. The purpose is to acquaint them (students) with the work environment, help them learn work appropriate behavior, etc.”

Selma City Board of Education superintendent Don Jefferson said though he was unsure of the availability of funds at first, he’s pleased with the sacrifice that was made.

“I knew it would really benefit the community,” Jefferson said. “I hope the work ethics learned this summer you’ll take with you and do the best you can do. I hope you’ll remember this experience and be a vanguard and set an example for someone else.”

Incoming freshman De’onte Edwards worked with the city’s park and recreation department at Memorial Stadium for his assignment.

“I worked out there in the sun. I enjoyed it,” Edwards said. “I learned responsibility … it taught me how to take care of myself and how to achieve goals. Whatever your job is, don’t sit back and let it (life) pass by — grab it.”

Selma High graduate Samantha Effinger, who worked in the mayor’s office and Planning and Development, with Charlotte Griffeth, agrees.

“I had to answer the phone, make copies and take papers to other departments,” Effinger said. “It (the job) taught me character development, to have a good sense of humor and responsibility. You develop good job skills for the future … you gain experience, meet new people and see what it’s like to work if you haven’t worked before.”

Selma City Council representatives Susan Keith, Angela Benjamin and Sam Randolph, spoke on the importance of doing your best at all times.

“Be the best at whatever you do,” Keith said. “Your attitude is everything.”