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Teens learn job skills as tutors

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Thirty-eight teenagers completed the Youth Job Center of Evanston’s Summer Tutors Program this month.


Thirty-eight teenagers completed the Youth Job Center of Evanston’s Summer Tutors Program this month.

The program places students, ages 14-16, in six week paid tutoring positions within K-5 classrooms.

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A pizza party at Carmen’s marked the end of the tutoring program.

This year the tutors worked in three District 65 schools, Lincoln Elementary School, Martin Luther King Lab School and Dr. Bessie Rhodes Magnet School, with the hope of providing a first work experience to lay a good foundation for future employment.

Most tutors worked in individual classrooms doing tasks such as one-on-one tutoring, helping students read or reading aloud to them and assisting their teachers to set up classroom activities. The three lead tutors focused on contacting tutors within their respective schools and directly assisting the principal.

Candidates were selected based on an application, an essay explaining why they wanted to be a summer tutor, two letters of recommendation and an interview with YJC staff.

The YJC also hosted four job-readiness workshops regarding resume building, budgeting, workplace expectations and how to find a job. Guest speakers were Erik Huertes from Bank of America and Nancy Brandis from Banana Republic.

This summer marked the first time for Mo Schultz, CORE Employment Counselor, to run the program. She said she was thankful for the great tutors, as well as great teachers, for making the program a smooth success.

“Though the program was only six weeks, you could see how attached the tutors were to the kids,” she said. “And the support of the teachers and their willingness to provide important mentorship to the tutors is what makes the program so effective.”

The program concluded this month with a celebration party at Carmen’s Pizza. Raffle prizes included gifts from Starbucks and Century Theaters. Juanita Mendoza, 16, was selected to receive the Tutor of the Program award for her hard work as a lead tutor and willingness to do “anything and everything” throughout the summer. Though there were challenges, Mendoza said she is thankful for the experience and how it affected her.

“Sometimes issues came up or there was confusion, but the principal was a good role model in showing me how to handle problems,” she said. “The job taught me a lot and has prepared me for work in the future.”

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