Through our Camp Skillz and CASE and Academy programs, we became well-acquainted with kids in need of loving guidance from caring adults, especially when school is out of session. When we found out that the mayor’s office created a comprehensive out-of-school network to improve the city's climate for hiring young people, we were so grateful. In its inaugural summer (2017), Opportunity Now connected youth in need of summer jobs with over 2,000 options, filed by city businesses and non-profits, G.O.D. being one of them! Opportunity Now initiative “supports Nashville’s next generation (ages 14-24) as they develop life skills and confidence needed to excel in the workplace.”
Being an Opportunity NOW partner connected us to the many young people in search of summer employment and allowed us to provide them with meaningful summer work! We empower teen employees with an awareness of the soft skills necessary in any work environment: punctuality, collaboration, respect and excellence in work.
It also afforded us the opportunity to employ college students as "near-peer" tutors. The near peers are the ones with the youth day in and day out, giving them opportunities to develop leadership and managerial skills like delegation, administrative paperwork and communication skills. These college students (18-24) serve as role models to the younger employees (aged 14-16).
Youth who work with WorkWell are offered more than summer employment, but a chance to make a difference in their community. Our inaugural year included working in a community garden (including preparing a farm-to-table summer lunch program), neighborhood improvement projects, a performing arts program to bless the elderly and a youth basketball camp. This year (2018) our 24 teens and 4 near-peers will work as gardeners with Hopewell Farms, as camp counselors at Camp Skillz, host a Basketball Clinic and learn the important role of media through photography and video.