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Jobs give youths a boost

January 06, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(Tim Berger/Staff…)

For 42 years, the Assistance League of Flintridge's Youth Employment Service has been setting up high school students in La Cañada with odd jobs around town.

A total of 608 students are currently in the Youth Employment Service's database. Most of them are from La Cañada High and all of them are looking for a way to make some money amidst a recession.

The system not only provides high-school students and young adults up to age 23 with some extra spending cash; it also affords them a chance to demonstrate responsibility, according to Elizabeth Patterson, chair of the Y.E.S.

"Quite often [the students] will go beyond the call of duty and it gives them a sense of confidence that they can function in the big world out there," Patterson said.

Lindsay McGee, manager of the program, describes the program as a "middle man." People approach the service with a position or task they need filled and the information is passed on to the students. Some find steady work as a nanny or tutor and log about 10 to 15 hours a week, others pick up a shift here or there, McGee said.

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"It's their responsibility to take the information we give them and utilize it," McGee said. "They are learning some professional skills and building up their confidence."

The best thing about the service is its convenience and a quick resource to make money, said Alex Seastrom, a 2007 La Cañada High School alum and recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. The experiences helps prepare people for their future work environment, he added.

"It helps you adapt to meeting and working with new people and it sets you up for when you actually get a real job because it helps you see all the different people and how all bosses are different," said Seastrom, who has used the service off and on for eight years.

There are many different types of work that range from doing clerical work for a local business to giving a karate demonstration at a birthday party. The most common jobs offered through the service are tutoring, baby sitting, mentoring and yard work, McGee said.

Students can choose to take on as much or as little responsibility as they want, giving them flexibility, she added.

The beauty of the program is the flexibility, Seastrom said.

"It's a good program and the main thing I like about it is it's not too regular so you can keep your schedule open. Your days are free so you can concentrate more on school work because you don't have to be worrying about going to work every day," Seastrom said. "A lot of the jobs do lead to regular work though."

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