A Meaningful Summer Job

What do employers really look for in their employees? Among the many skills needed to be successful in the workplace, a strong work ethic and positive attitude are two of the most important. That’s why we’re emphasizing these skills for our WorkWell employees this summer, and we’re already seeing them in our team of Farm Hands. Here’s what they’re saying about working together:

“Our team is great at working through tough tasks.”

“No one is complaining!”

“We’re all always in high spirits despite the heat.”

“We work together well, and I love how hard we all work.”

In the midst of their work tasks, WorkWell employees receive an individual employee review with their near peer each week. Consistent, timely feedback awards youth the opportunity to immediately implement and practice what they’re being taught. During these employee reviews, near peers highlight accomplishments from the previous week and set goals for the week ahead. When asked her favorite moment from WorkWell, one Farm Hand said, “Evaluations, because it’s a time to reflect on how I see myself and how others see me.” With a near peer as enthusiastic and encouraging as Kennedy Dupuis, it’s no surprise these one-on-one moments are so memorable!

  Farm Hand Brinlee Sells received practical tips on how to be a leader for her group from Kennedy during her weekly evaluation.

Farm Hand Brinlee Sells received practical tips on how to be a leader for her group from Kennedy during her weekly evaluation.

Kennedy has fervently led her team this summer, investing extra time to consider how she can leave a long-lasting effect on them. She’s often researching new ways to understand and build up the youth, seeking advice to work out issues that arise among them, and planning tasks geared toward their particular skills and interests. Last week’s employee of the week Brinlee Sells said, “My most impactful moments have been the small lessons Ms. Kennedy has given me. She’s taught me not to lose my humanity by excluding others or cutting them down. She makes be a better person.”  Even a few of the more closed-off workers have opened up, feeling safe to share about their lives and try new things because of the genuine love Kennedy has shown them.

  Whether it’s instruction on the farm or meaningful life lessons, youth employees love the intentional guidance that Kennedy pours into them.

Whether it’s instruction on the farm or meaningful life lessons, youth employees love the intentional guidance that Kennedy pours into them.

The youth employees are also learning the process of managing a project from beginning to end in the workplace. One of the projects the Farm Hands are working on is a gutter garden. They’re having to organize their team into roles, create a budget, plan a timeline, perform ongoing evaluations, and give a final presentation of the results. The Farm Hands wrote the following description of their current project:

“We are creating a sustainable way to grow organic vegetables using techniques we’ve been learning from working with Hopewell Farms. We’re doing a trial-and-error process with two separate gutters so we can see which approach is the best: intensive care or minimal care. The gutter gardens will be a way to grow organic food with limited space and limited resources. We hope to show that this is a great option for home gardeners and for those in need in third-world countries."

  The Farm Hands worked together to plan how they would execute each step of their project before they began.

The Farm Hands worked together to plan how they would execute each step of their project before they began.

These young people are getting the opportunity to do rewarding and meaningful work associated with the production of real, healthy food while receiving love and investment from staff that truly care for them. They’ve been pushing through and often rising to meet expectations despite the heat and strenuous labor involved. Thanks to the hard work of the WorkWell staff, the youth are spending the summer gaining new experiences, skill sets and relationships to support them into their future.