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Photo courtesy of Career Awareness Related Experience

CARE program guides employees

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]a’Quavea Grant, a 15-year-old Battle High School student, joined the Career Awareness Related Experience (CARE) Program last summer working as a daycare teacher assistant for kids with disabilities.

“It gave me a way to learn how to work and interact with kids who were very different from me,” Grant said.

Grant participated in the CARE Program, which the Columbia Parks and Recreation has designed for 14 to 20-year-olds. The program works to offer students an opportunity to be employed during the summer. These summer jobs are supposed to be a hands-on experience. The CARE program was created in 1982 and its main purpose is to provide comprehensive services for Columbia’s at-risk youth.

Trainees are assigned a job coach to help mentor them. Not only do the trainees improve on themselves but so do the job coaches, as well.

[quote]“Working with the CARE program as a job coach has impacted me in many aspects,” Shamon Williams, a current Job Coach in the program said. “It has drawn me closer to my community and the business that we partner with. More importantly, it has impressed upon me the role that I maintain in working with an ‘at-risk population’ and provide them with essential tools to be successful in the realm of employment.”[/quote]
The program is located at 701 East Ash and works to provide job readiness training and career exploration for teens. But Grant isn’t the only young person getting the opportunity to learn these skills at an early age.

“I want to try new things, and I’ve never had a job,” freshman India Marshall said. “Personally, I think the program will give me more job experience than working in the house. Be responsible.”
Before students begin their jobs, they take various classes that help them learn about money management, interview behavior and the proper way to talk to people when doing business.

“The CARE Program prepared me for future jobs by helping me with opening up to strangers,” Grant said. “It showed me each step on going through interviews and showed me time management is important in all ways possible. I recommend the CARE Program to everybody. It is a very good program and a very good way to get experience with new things and work around what you would want to do in the future. You learn a lot and it prepares you to take new steps that you wouldn’t ever see yourself doing.”

Do you work with the C.A.R.E. program? Let us know in the comments below.

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