We've shifted gears from the pandemic information with Public Health Muskegon to the recovery efforts statewide led by United Way offices as directed by the Governor. With that, we've talked weekly with the Executive Director of the United Way Christine Robere and she's kept us all up to date on opportunities for people to get involved and help, chances to get a hand if yo need it and where to begin if you find yourself in the need of some assistance. Let's be honest, there are many who for the first time ever had to turn and ask for help and never imagined they would, but with that request also comes the idea that there is a community to take care of them as well as a chance for them to remember what it was to be in need and how they too can help in the future. That's what strengthens the fabric of who we are. That is Muskegon.
This week, Christine yields the floor to Dominique Bunker who brings in a couple of guests that really show some razzle dazzle. McKenzie Covington who attends Orchard View HS and Jasmine Duncan who is a Norsemen from North Muskegon. McKenzie and Jasmine both participate in a program sponsored by DTE and Michigan Works to bring youth into a work environment over the summer to learn what it is they hope to do with their future and learn some of the "soft skills" required to make it on the job market. These ladies happen to be at the United Way itself, however this program extends into the other non profit organizations that the United Way serves and not only gives them and extra set of hands to help, but brings in a key element to any business and that is YOUTH. What's key about youth? They are our future. We need to begin to realize that it's going to be their world soon, and it's on us to give them the very best we can from the knowledge we've acquired as well as learn from them some of the things we've tuned out either by default or omission. From the United Way website - "For the summer employment program, low income youth employees aged 16-24 are recruited by Michigan Works! in target areas like Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, Big Rapids, and Baldwin, and Oceana and Newaygo Counties. This year we are also adding a few new positions from Kent County as well, making this a 6-county program." This is the kind of offering that is worth it's weight in gold to young people who can actually get their hands dirty and learn where their aptitudes lean in the workforce and maybe even explore some things they never thought of. Best of all, these youngin's get paid over the Summer to not only teach them the value of a buck, but the value of their efforts and themselves. It's pretty amazing.
We gathered up at the United Way at the time we regularly tape our Wednesday update, so apologies all around for the delay. But please meet Jasmine, McKenzie and welcome back Dom, who's got a very inspirational new haircut! Take a listen!
It's great to hear about the work the United Way does and we're always happy to pitch in and share the happenings, but I walked away from this one with a little different take away. These young women. They are powerful. They are wise beyond their years. They are determined and they too are focused on what's to come. When I was 17, I had the beginnings of ideas, and yes...I was schlepping records and rented DJ systems around to school dances.....but there is something about these young people today, especially their approach to life that we all need to pay attention to. I left completely blown away by their intelligence, poise and ability to communicate the way they did and for every time my "50 something" mind thinks "Get Off My Lawn", it's not long until bright and beautiful young people come along and say "Not so fast Gramps", and yes, I can freely admit I need to hear that at times.
To learn more about the Summer Youth Nonprofit work experience at the United Way, click on their logo below and see if you or your kids can get in for next summer. It's a paid step in the right direction for exploration, education and opportunity.