For local youth, a teachable moment and a chance to give back

“I definitely feel that it is important to help out the JCC, which provides many wonderful services for the Jewish community and many others. What I learned more than anything in my work was a lesson in professionalism.”   — Ezra Isaacs, 19, of Squirrel Hill, who worked at the Jewish Community Center as part of the Pittsburgh Summer Youth Employment Program.

Recently, 25 area youth completed summer employment programs, administered by the Career Development Center (CDC), a division of Jewish Family & Children’s Service in Squirrel Hill. The youth worked summer jobs as part of the Pittsburgh Summer Youth Employment Program and the Allegheny County Department of Human Service’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

Administering these programs is just one way that JF&CS enables others to give back to their communities. While teens are learning valuable job skills, they are also interacting with members of their community, helping local institutions and opening doors to their own futures. In other words, it brings our agency, participating employers and our interns full circle into the act of “giving” while enlivening our Jewish community.

Youth who participated in the city’s program, ranging in age from 14-21, worked at four different sites in Squirrel Hill for six weeks. Students worked with the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA), which includes the Anathan Club, Weinberg Village and Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Refugee students who participated in the county’s program, ranging in age from 14-18, worked for six weeks in various job sites throughout the South Hills region where they reside. Job sites included the Brentwood School District, the Brentwood, Baldwin and Whitehall libraries, Napali Bazaar and Himalayan Grocery.

In addition to learning job-readiness skills like responsibility and presentation prior to starting work, participants were given other tools to be successful at their new jobs, such as guidance on taking initiative, following direction and respecting supervisors, clients and people from various cultures, races and religions.

JF&CS believes in nurturing the young people around us to grow and strengthen our communities. To see more photos of local youth in action during their summer internships, visit the CDC’s Facebook page. For more information on how you can become involved in helping local youth, contact Jeanne Williams at 412-586-3725 or  

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