37 Teens Explore Careers at IKRON
The third year of IKRON's Summer Youth Program (SYP) was a tremendous success, with happy students reluctant to say good-bye in early August when the five-week program reached its end. In addition to students feeling safe and supported at IKRON as they explored potential future careers and appropriate work behaviors, every one of this year's participants said they would recommend IKRON's SYP to others.
For one student and his family, the experience was particularly impactful. Eli, a local student from the Sycamore area, has participated in other vocational programs in the past; however, due to Eli’s chronic tardiness, he was often unsuccessful. Previous programs did nothing to help combat this tardiness. Eli’s mom expressed that as a result, she felt discredited as a mother.
SYP taught Eli that his behaviors have logical consequences, such as losing pay or risking being fired for being late. IKRON offers real-world consequences and rewards for behaviors, re-establishing Mom’s credibility and ultimately showing Eli that it isn’t just Mom that cares if he is on time. It is important to everyone that employees show up on time and ready to work. He was punctual 80% of the time, which Eli’s mom calls “a world record for Eli.” This improvement in attendance is concrete evidence to show to his team and his teachers that he is progressing.
Over the course of summer youth, Eli worked at Remke Markets, St. Vincent de Paul, Sonesta ES Suites, and Our Daily Bread. Eli was able to work at a competitive pace and to practice the social interactions needed to be successful in a job. He can build on the skills he has learned at IKRON to help him in his future employment.
Overall, Eli’s mom expressed that she was very pleased with the services IKRON provided. She stated, “not only did you treat him respectfully, you implemented boundaries and rules, which he needed. Also, it got Eli out of the house and involved in the community.” She looks forward to seeing what other kinds of programs Eli could participate in and what his next steps and options are. Since the conclusion of summer youth, Eli has been working in UC’s student union serving lunch. Eli’s mom said he’s working hard and has the grease stains to prove it!
IKRON’s Summer Youth Program is a five-week work experience running from early July to the beginning of August. The program provides youth with an outlet to explore vocational areas of interest in a safe, stable, and supportive environment, while also allowing participants to build marketable skills for future employment. If you’d like to learn more about the Summer Youth Program, contact Shelly or Darla at 513-621-1117.
The Summer Youth Program would not be possible without the support of the community partners who welcome participants every summer. Thank you to these Summer Youth Program participating businesses.