Lynn thanks summer job program youths

August 18, 2010
By David Liscio/The Daily Item

The city extended a hearty thanks Wednesday by providing breakfast to 160 Lynn youth who participated in the summer jobs program.

Amid the City Hall lobby packed with tables and chairs, dozens of boys and girls - and in some cases young men and women - were showered with words of praise for their successes. Wearing bright green T-shirts with the city's name on the front and the words "Sponsored by Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy" on the back, they dined on eggs, muffins, pastries and juice while sharing stories about their summer work experience.

"It was like an adventure," said Camy Ducasse, 18, a community college student. "Some days we moved desks out of schools. Other days we moved desks in. We did lots of different jobs."

Nelson Cornejo, 17, a Lynn English High student, recalled filling a truck with defunct computer equipment and lugging school furniture. Jose Hernadez, also 17 and a Lynn English student, said many days were spent cleaning classrooms, washing tables and floors. "Power washing was fun. I never had used a power washer before that," he said.

Michael Dubon, 17, a Lynn Tech student, said his group of workers reported daily to Connery Elementary School where supervisor Reggie Douyan doled out task assignments. "Working as our little group we moved a lot of desks, chairs and bookcases," he said. "Every day was a little different."

John Kasian, director of the summer youth jobs program, explained that the application process begins during the April school break and ends in June. "We try hard to fit the kids to the needs of the business or organization," he said. "It's highly competitive due to the economy, and funding is down from both the state and federal government this year. We have a lot more applications than we do jobs to fill."

Kasian described the jobs program as akin to setting up a small shadow company. "It's a key program because you're giving kids jobs, which means both work experience and pay," he said.

Private-sector participants included Eastern Bank, Wayne Alarm, Briarcliff Lodge and Columbia Insurance. Non-profit organizations were the Greater Lynn YMCA, Lynn Economic Opportunity, and the Boys and Girls Club.

"The kids worked in the schools, the parks and playgrounds. We had 25 businesses and non-profits involved and the kids worked with them as well," Kasian said.

Mike Psomos, service manager at Kelly Honda on the Lynnway, hired three local youths for the summer. "It was a privilege to meet some of these kids. I will probably keep the three I had on board," he said.

Kasian said Psomos' assessment illustrates the power of the program. "Sometimes these kids work for the summer and then they go back to apply for a full-time job at the same place," he said.

The seven-week program is run by the Office of Economic and Community Development, the Lynn Economic Development and Industrial Corp., and the mayor's office. The youth range in age from 16 to 21.

Mayor Kennedy personally praised the gathering. "Thank you for your hard work. I hope you had a lot of fun," she said.

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