(FLINT, MICH -  August 7, 2013) -- Employment preparedness and work experience are important life lessons, and so is understanding the importance of giving back to the community. Teens in the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce’s Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) receive all three.

Today, hundreds of SYI students participated in the 2013 SYI Day of Service, volunteering at one of 30+ non-profit agencies in Genesee County. Volunteer opportunities include sorting food or clothing, assisting at day camps, serving as office assistants, performing gardening and outdoor maintenance and cleaning empty lots or elementary classrooms.

Summer Youth Initiative (SYI), a Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce program, helps approximately 400+ well-prepared teens find employment each year by providing funding to area nonprofits and for profit businesses to hire these students. Teens who are hired by SYI employers agree to participate in one day of volunteer service as a condition of their employment.

“The purpose of the day of service is to teach students the importance of giving back to their community,” said Rhetta Hunyady, Chamber Vice President for Education & Training. “Because the students have benefitted from community giving, the day of service enables them to become involved in their community and learn the value of giving to others,” Hunyady added.

Organizations that will benefit from the teen volunteers range from Applewood Estates, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint, Mott Community College, New Creation Church, Flint Community Schools, PAWS Animal Rescue and the Foodbank of Eastern Michigan.

On the Day of Service, teens convene at Kearsley Park and then deploy to their volunteer assignments at 30+ organizations throughout Flint and Genesee County from 9 a.m. to noon. Following the volunteer assignment there is a wrap-up celebration at Kearsley Park.

To participate in SYI, teens must graduate from TeenQuest, a five-week afterschool training program where youth ages 14-18 learn a set of skills that will help them be successful at school, work and home. Once teens have graduated from TeenQuest, they are eligible to participate in job interviews and compete for summer jobs.

For more information about TeenQuest visit www.flintandgenesee.org/learn/teenquest/