By Tom Quinn, Worcester Magazine
What are the kids supposed to do in the summer? It is a question that haunts parents everywhere; if they are not worrying about getting their own child a job, they are worried about other people’s children and what mischief they will get into with their new-found free time after school lets out.
Amanda Thompson is the director of the Salvation Army’s Bridging the Gap program in Worcester, which helps put youth who are court-involved or at risk of becoming court-involved back on track through a comprehensive curriculum. The Worcester chapter is the only one in Massachusetts that has a job component as well.
“I just think of it as a part of our program,” Thompson said. “A lot of times knowing you have a summer job at the end of graduation really helps motivate them.”
Thompson puts some kids in the program to work in the Salvation Army’s child feeding program. While subsidized jobs programs target low-income youth in general, Thompson said providing jobs to youths who may be on probation or involved with the state Department of Children and Families is especially effective.
“Not only are they getting a second chance and getting to build a reputation for themselves, and they get a job, but their first job is doing social work and feeding children, and they really love it and it really changes them,” she said.