Teens Participate in Summer Youth Initiative’s Volunteer Service Day

Summer Youth Initiative (SYI)(FLINT, MICH.) Landscaping, office work and camp support are among the many ways hundreds of Flint-area teens provided volunteer support to 25 area organizations today as part of the annual Summer Youth Initiative Volunteer Service Day.

The volunteers are participants in the Summer Youth Initiative (SYI), which is managed by the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.  SYI helps hundreds of well-prepared teens gain employment through funding provided to area non-profit and for-profit organizations to facilitate the hiring of teen employees.  As a condition of their employment, teens hired through SYI agree to participate in one-day of volunteer service.

According to Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, volunteering is the life blood of our community.  He says encouraging teens to begin volunteering early in life sets them up for a life-long commitment to community.

“Today’s volunteer service day helps bridge the gap between community and youth by helping teens understand the value of giving back,” said Herman.  “Hundreds of teens had an opportunity to utilize their skills and gain benefit in the process.  Volunteerism is critical to success in life and provides an invaluable link to the community.  It is gratifying to know that the Regional Chamber through SYI is helping to develop good stewards of our community.”

To participate in SYI, teens must graduate from TeenQuest, a five-week after school training program where youth ages 14-18 learn skills that will lead to future success at school, home and work.  Following graduation from TeenQuest, teens are eligible to participate in job interviews and can also participate in the SYI Job Fair.

Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Employer Education and Training for the Regional Chamber says teens gain valuable skills and exposure to the personal rewards of volunteering through Volunteer Service Day.

“Volunteer Service Day provides an incredible opportunity for teens to demonstrate the ways that they can enhance their communities,” said Hunyady.  “Each year our students gain valuable benefits from volunteering and not the least of which is showing just how community oriented teens can be.  We require participation in volunteer activities from all SYI participants because we understand what they can gain from the experience.”

Many area organizations provided opportunities for Volunteer Service Day participants, including:  Boys and Girls Club, Flint Children’s Museum, Flint Community Schools, Mission of Hope and the YWCA of Greater Flint.  At noon, Service Day participants joined TeenQuest staff for a wrap up of the summer’s activities at Kearsley Park.

About the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce

The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce (www.flintandgenesee.org) is the voice of business and community advocacy in Genesee County. The Regional Chamber is over 100 years old, was established before the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and is a founding member of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Two words describe the Regional Chamber as it enters its second century of service: collaboration and partnership. It is our goal to work with government, business, education and nonprofit organizations to support the growth and development of the community economically, culturally and socially.

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 support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. To apply or learn more, visit www.flintandgenesee.org/teenquest.