Archdiocesan Out of School Time programs aren’t just there to keep kids busy during the school year. It is year round, and for some teens it means summer employment that they can build upon in years to come.

“We had 68 kids in programs during summertime,” said Dominique James, who is program director at the Community Center at Visitation B.V.M. Parish in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, but the program covers a much wider net.

Teens were drawn from Catholic schools, charter schools and public schools and they worked 20 hours a week at various sites around the city, receiving $7.25 an hour with funding obtained from various sources, including the Philadelphia Youth Network.

‘It’s a good program, a learning experience,” James said. “Sometimes this is the first job they ever had and they learn to be accountable, to show up on time and to grow.”

Teens who participated worked at one of Catholic Social Services’ Out of School Time locations throughout the city – Mary Mother of Peace, St. Malachy, St. Martin de Porres, DePaul Catholic School, Our Lady Help of Christians, Holy Innocents, St. Veronica, Northeast Family Services, Casa Del Carmen and the Community Center at Visitation.

(See a video created by participants of CSS’ OST programs.)

For Jolene Fulmore, who just entered her junior year at Little Flower High School and is a member of St. Vincent Parish in the Germantown section, this meant working close to home at DePaul where she went during the school year.

During the summer, “it was mostly office work, filing and other things, but I also assisted when the children went on trips,” she said.

Time management, communication skills and work skills were stressed, and Fulmore knows they will be applicable no matter where she works in the future. Her own post-college plans at this point are to become a professional in the hospitality industry.

“I have always been interested in hotel work,” she said.

Donald Green, a junior at Roman Catholic High, also worked close to home at his parish, Holy Innocents, where he volunteered during the school year.

“I worked with about 23 third graders,” he said. “I took them to the playground, I played games with them; anything that would entertain them.”

For him the greatest benefit was learning what authority means and how to take charge and run a program. “I know how to do this in the future,” he said.

While Green’s own future plans are not concrete at this point, “it will probably be in the science field,” he said.

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Lou Baldwin is a freelance writer and a member of St. Leo Parish.