In Their Own Words

The Impact of YouthWorks Summer Jobs Program
What difference does YouthWorks make? Hear from participants themselves who are proud to tell you, #YouthWorksWorks!

Meet some Summer 2015 YouthWorks participants and hear in their own words the impact the program had on their lives.
Louis Portillo
Entering freshman year at Quinsigamond Community College where he intends to study criminal justice with an end goal of becoming a prosecutor.
In his first summer with the YouthWorks program, he worked at the reception desk at the Family Health Center of Worcester, where he was responsible for answering more than 500 calls each day.
“I love working with people,” he said. “Through the YouthWorks program you are not only making money but fostering skills, meeting mentors and making connections. I also learned a lot about the values of being on time and other professional courtesies.”

Daizy Santiago
Entering senior year at Burncoat High School. Wants to be a Kindergarten teacher one day.
In her first summer with the YouthWorks program, she worked as camp counselor for YMCA’s summer recreation program, working with children ages 3-11.
“I would definitely recommend this program to other kids,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of different experiences and learned a lot about things I didn’t know. This job helped me a lot career wise.”
Daizy is pictured here (on the right) with fellow YouthWorks participant Aaliyah Johnson.

Joshua Roman
Entering freshman year at Worcester State University.
In his second year with the YouthWorks program, he worked with the recreation program for youth, ages 6-16, living at Wellington Apartments.
“I learned a lot about professionalism,” he said, noting that he really enjoyed being a ‘big brother’ to many of the kids particularly during field trips to places such as Six Flags and Hampton Beach.
Joshua is pictured here (on left) with Sarmad Maarij, his YouthWorks case manager


Andreyna Torres
Entering senior year at South High School.
In her second year with the YouthWorks program, she worked as an assistant within the property management office of the Main South Community Development Corporation.
“Working has helped me improve my reading and writing and taught me to behave in a professional manner, control my emotions and to be kind to and respectful of others,” she said. “I honestly don’t think I could have found a job on my own. This has kept me out of trouble – I’m earning a paycheck, am saving money…. having responsibilities and learning that life is more than just hanging around with friends.”

FOR WEB Donnecia StapletonDonnecia Stapleton
Entering her senior year at North High School.
In her first summer with YouthWorks she worked at Faith Tabernacle Church of Worcester, Inc. helping to set up a preschool classroom and creating a website for kids at risk. She says she enjoyed helping take the children on field trips and get the center prepared for their various guest speakers.
“I definitely could not have found a job without YouthWorks,” she said.

FOR WEB Johnny LeJohnny Le
Entering his junior year at Worcester Technical High School.
In his first summer with YouthWorks, he worked as a youth leader for the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts’ summer camp. He says he was responsible for keeping the youth busy and entertained, and particularly enjoyed working on their Summer Olympics event.
“I think I really learned how to improve communication wise – how to articulate my points across,” he said. “And I really had fun!”

FOR WEB Richard NyarkoRichard Nyarko
Entering his senior year at South High School.
In his second summer with YouthWorks, he worked for the Worcester Roots Project where he enjoyed being part of their outreach group to spread the word about lead remediation.
“This job helped me to enhance my communication skills,” he said.

FOR WEB Tamaraydaliz Del Valle Tamaraydaliz Del Valle
Graduate of the city’s Gerald Creamer School, will be enrolling at Quinsigamond Community College to study criminal justice.
In her first summer with YouthWorks, she worked at the Worcester Public Library assisting with returns of books, audio books, cds, etc. She says she really enjoy her ‘down to earth, nice co-workers.
“This job taught me a lot about working with other people, organizational skills and being responsible,” she said.

FOR WEB faira cedanoFaira Cedano
Entering her senior year at South High School.
In her third summer with YouthWorks, she worked for the Worcester Roots Project where she assisted with their public relations – setting up workshops and special events.
“I learned a lot about staying organized,” she said. “Getting ready for the future and outside world, and how to be professional.”

FOR WEB diyana abdulahadDiyana Abdulahad
Entering her senior year at North High School.
In her first summer with YouthWorks, she worked as a teacher’s assistant at Plumley Village, which she said was very nice and a good environment for the children. She said her case manager kept things very well organized and managed them well.
“I learned a lot about responsibility,” she said, “from the time you enter until the time you leave.”

Maria Canales
Site supervisor at Family Health Center of Worcester.
“We love helping people. So we love giving these kids a meaningful work experience. They are treated like any other employee. It’s a great experience for them – they learn responsibility, being on time, they learn a lot. And by the end they’ve had such a great experience they are recommending the program to others,” she said, noting that three summer YouthWorks participants have subsequently been hired into permanent positions at the Family Health Care Center.

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