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More than 200 teens to participate in summer jobs program

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —  Two Indianapolis churches will kick off their summer jobs program for teenagers Thursday afternoon. More than 200 teens will gather at Fervent Prayer Church on the far east side Thursday for orientation.

The point of the summer jobs program is to show teens the value of hard work, pair them with a mentor and give them something constructive to do while school is out for the summer. Thursday, the teenagers will learn about what the churches expect from them on the job.

Fervent Prayer Church started the jobs program six years ago. Fervent Prayer has also hosted safe havens and partnered with IMPD on other outreach programs. This is the fourth year that Olivet Missionary Baptist church as joined the effort.

In the past four years, the churches said they’ve raised $250,000 to put teens to work. Teenagers ages 13 to 19 pick up trash and clean up their communities. This year, the teens will work with HUD to beautify some of its properties. The teens work one day a week for seven weeks, but the pastors said that one day each week makes a big difference.

“Although we do a program one time a week, when the kids come they get to learn about work to dress for interviews, behavior, social niceties. All those types of things that are going to help them to be successful in life,” said Pastor James Jackson with Fervent Prayer Church.

The pastors said they don’t have the resources for the teenagers to work more than one day a week right now.

They said the program will not only benefit the teens, but also their communities.

“Not only do they enjoy it, but it keeps them out of harms way. It also, according to stats in our city, it also reduces for at least seven to eight weeks, juvenile crime,” said Olivet Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Wayne Moore.

“Our environment affects us psychologically. We’re all products of the environments we come out of. So I began to think, if the environment is not clean, then we’re probably not going to produce clean people or clean young people in the way of their thinking,” said Jackson.

The churches also work to help high school seniors get to college. Last year, they purchased computers for several graduating seniors.

The program is full for this summer, but adults can still volunteer to be mentors or supervisors. You can also donate to the effort. For more information click here.