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Summer Youth Employment Program puts money in pockets, smiles on faces

August 5, 2012

Arkaydia Farrow, 18, reads to youngsters at the Boys & Girls Club of Woonsocket. She organizes and manages group activities for children as a member of the club’s teen group in her first paid job, financed by the state’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

WOONSOCKET – A throng of children sits in a circle around Arkaydia Farrow as she clutches an open book in one hand, trying to read a story and make eye contact with her rapt audience at the same time.
When Farrow isn’t telling stories, she’s helping this crop of six- to eight-year-olds practice their writing skills, shepherding them on field trips or managing an arts & crafts project.
In her first paid job, Farrow, 18, relishes her role as mentor and cheerleader to children while they’re in their formative years, some of them from troubled, broken families.
“To see the kids smile, it makes my day better,” she says. “It helps the kids, too, to show them the difference between right and wrong.”
But Farrow says she probably wouldn’t be working at all were it not for the Summer Youth Employment Program. Gov. Lincoln Chafee dedicated $2 million to the program, which has trickled down to myriad private and non-profit employers, including the Boys & Girls Club of Woonsocket, where Arkaydia earns about $140 a week before taxes.
She found out about the opportunity from Family Resources Community Action Program over six months ago while taking part in an after-school program.
And she’s glad she did. If Family Resources hadn’t reached out, she says, she doubts she would have even looked for a job this summer. Without few applicable work skills, experience or even a resume, she’s convinced the effort would have been fruitless.
Now she’s got a little extra money in her pocket. She also did something else she never did before – opened a bank account.

Read more in our print edition.

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