Hamilton job, mentoring program for youth still has openings

A job and mentoring program for youths is again being offered this summer at the Booker T. Washington Community Center.

Last year’s pilot program organized by Pastor Shaquila Mathews had 25 youth learning personal development skills and performing community service while earning some cash. This year’s program will double in size, according to Mathews.

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“I believe this program is necessary for the city of Hamilton and valuable. When the applications went out we had 24 spaces filled within 24 hours,” she said. “Our youth want to be a part of positive things and we just have to give them the opportunity.”

Mathews said there are only a few slots remaining for youth ages 13-18.

“We are employing 50 kids to work in the community cleaning up trash and helping with various other projects,” she said.

The dates for the program are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 9 through July 28.

The program is also in need of volunteers to help supervisor the youth.

For more information about the program, volunteering or donating supplies, call Mathews at 513-899-6181 or email pastorshaq@gmail.com.

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Mathews added that the mentoring program will be partnering with several businesses and colleges this year in order to provide a wide range of opportunities for the youth involved.

“We will be spending the day with Butler Tech, Miami University Hamilton and we will also have some of our mentoring sessions at the downtown Miami building,” she said. “Also, the kids will have the opportunity to work on a project with IBEW Local 648 with Councilman Matt Von Stein, and we will also be working with Stem2Dream with Tyrome Bembry.”

Von Stein said the mentoring program allows young people to gain valuable hands on experience and learn about opportunities such as the IBEW Apprenticeship, which allows successful participants the chance to earn 50 college credits.

“We are going to have the kids hang exterior lighting at Pastor Shaq’s church and have them do some other minor electrical upgrades,” he said.

Mayor Pat Moeller said Mathews has put together a program that has a positive impact on the lives of young people in Hamilton.

“After having the opportunity to work with the program’s youth, I was impressed how hard they worked picking up litter and urban gardening,” Moeller said. “Then, the same group of youth would focus on the life skills, college prep, and financial coach presentations.”

Mathews, who is planning a run for a seat on city council, said the program is an example of how to build partnerships to help the youth in the community.

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