(FLINT, Mich., July 26, 2017) – More than 300 local teens clocked in a total of 1,050 volunteer hours today as they led beautification projects throughout Flint.

The young people, ages 14-19, are part of Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) – a program that helps coordinate the summer employment of Genesee County teens. SYI is open to students who have completed TeenQuest, a pre-employment and leadership training program that teaches participants how to “stand up and stand out” in the 21st century workplace.

“Our annual SYI Volunteer Day teaches students about the importance of investing in their community,” said Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education and Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, which oversees TeenQuest/SYI. “It also shows them how lending a hand – for even just a few hours – benefits the volunteer. Not only are they making a positive impact, they’re gaining new skills and building their resumes while they’re at it.”

This is the fourth year the summer program has partnered with the City of Flint for what has become the largest cleanup in the city. Benefitting from the volunteer work were several local neighborhoods, where students – joined by Chamber employees and local businesses – mowed lawns and removed debris.

“I want to thank all the teens and volunteers participating in this year’s Summer Youth Initiative.” said Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. “It’s wonderful to have so many of our young people taking advantage of this great program learning not only valuable job and leadership skills, but also the importance of giving back to the community. We all want Flint to recover and thrive, and with each us of doing what we can to make the city a better place we will reach that goal.”

Sites that were spruced up include the neighborhoods near Ohio Avenue and Dort Highway; Dakota and Douglas Avenues; Moore Street, near Merrill Elementary; Harrison and 14th Streets; Ballenger Highway and Court Street; and Proctor Street, between Paterson Street and Hamilton Avenue.

To qualify for SYI, students must first graduate from TeenQuest, a free afterschool pre-employment and leadership training program. Once teens have graduated from TeenQuest, they are eligible to participate in job interviews and compete for summer jobs.

For more information, visit www.flintandgenesee.org/syi.

About the Summer Youth Initiative and TeenQuest

The Summer Youth Initiative is a program that helps Flint-area teens find paid summer jobs. It’s open to students who’ve completed the TeenQuest afterschool program, which provides pre-employment and leadership training to students ages 14 to 19 to help them succeed in college and the 21st century workplace. Both programs are administered by the Genesee Area Focus Fund, a supporting organization of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, with generous support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. To apply or learn more, visit www.flintandgenesee.org/teenquest.