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If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean.
If you don't remember washing your hands, then go wash your hands.
When you're on the clock, it's no time to talk.
Chances are most adults heard some form of these words when they began their first job, often as a teenager. Venturing into the workforce for the first time can be daunting and exciting, and Parker resident Laura Tuel wants to help local teenagers land their first summer job.
“Growing up I always had a job. Why? Because my parents owned their business. I was taught at a very early age the value of working hard, loyalty, dependability, always raising your hand when someone needed help, and the value of making your own money,” said Tuel. “I want kids, high school students, to have that same opportunity.”
Tuel will be presenting a free summer Job, Internship and Volunteer Expo (J.I.V.E) on April 14, to bring potential young workers together with businesses who are willing to hire students from ages 14 to 19.
Tuel said many kids don't know that they can start working as young as 14, and others don't know how to go about applying for a job or creating a resume.
“I want the kids to know they don't have to spent three months sitting on their couch through the summer,” said Tuel. “Your first job can teach you a lot about yourself, and teach valuable life skills that will serve you well in future jobs.”
Molly Velez and her husband Gus own the Chicken Shack in Parker, which is a popular hangout for local teenagers. They are always looking for summer help, and Velez said they like to hire young people who are willing to work hard.
“I feel like I'm not only the mother of four, but also to all the kids in Parker because I feed them so much,” said Velez, who will be hosting a booth and holding job interviews at the J.I.V.E expo. “We're going through some growing pains and are always looking for kiddos who are willing to work hard and learn this industry from the ground level up.”
Velez said they take the responsibility of forming a strong work ethic in young workers seriously, and hopes they take the skills taught with them throughout life.
“My husband was in the Marines, and he's very detailed and structured,” said Velez. “We let our employees know that tardiness is unacceptable, there's a time and place to check your phone, and sometimes it doesn't work out and we have to let you go.”
Training young workers is a constant effort in life-coaching, and on the few occasions they've had to let workers go, parents have returned to thank them for teaching them a valuable lesson in responsibility, according to Velez.
Reiley Sabo, 17, began working when she was 14, and has had two jobs previous to starting at The Chicken shack. She's saving money to move out of her parents' home when she turns 18.
“I started working because I didn't want to depend on my parents for everything,” said Sabo. “I wanted to have my own money.”
Sabo said having a job can be difficult at times, and there are definitely days she doesn't want to go to work. But her employers have taught her the value of being responsible, and working for Molly and Gus helps prepare her for a future in the food service industry, which she hopes to pursue.
“They're awesome,” said Sabo. “The definitely go out of their way for us, but they don't let us slide on any of the things that have to be done. Gus can be a little intimidating, but he's really a big teddy bear at heart. And we should all uphold his standards because this is his place and it's our job.”
Madeleine Gamard, 17, attends Legend High, and said she works because her family likes to travel and she wants to help pay her own way.
“Having a job is a lot harder than I thought,” said Gamard. “You have to remember to follow the rules, and I wash my hands so much. All day long.”
The effort is worth it, according to Gamard, who is also saving money to attend a community college before going on to pursue a career with the FBI.
The expo will be held at Colorado Early Colleges Parker, located at 10235 Parkglenn Way, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 14. The expo is free for students and their parents/guardians, and will include booths from local businesses, on-site interviews, professional development workshop and help writing and printing resumes. Registration is preferred HERE but walk-ins will be accepted. Students should come dressed professionally and ready to interview. Internships and volunteer opportunities will also be available.
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