Staff at our Jamboree properties worked tirelessly during 2020’s Covid-19 summer to keep our kids and teens active, engaged, and socially connected online. Crystal, the Community Engagement Coordinator at one of our Irvine communities, saw the potential for teens in her community to have a safe place online to meet and socialize while also gaining additional life learning. The Teen Club was created as “a safe place for teens to come together and be part of a loving and supportive group.”
This responsive attention is a key part of REACH Kids, our approach to customized services that support the potential of kids and teens at our properties and the surrounding neighborhood, both academically at school and practically for work and life. As an acrostic, REACH focuses on five key values that enrich the lives of residents – kids, families, formerly homeless, veterans, seniors, and those living with special needs.
As part of our REACH acrostic, H is for Horizons that open new opportunity in a global world. Initial group discussions in the Teen Club revolved around two topics: college and work. In considering college, students talked through everything from SAT/ACT preparation, to how financial aid works. And thanks to online Zoom meetings, they were able to interact and ask questions with speakers from universities around California including UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and California State University Fullerton.
At an age when many teens normally start looking for their first job, one of the most requested discussion topics was how the job search process actually works. Crystal and the students worked together to create their first resumes, including cover letters. Since the teens would soon begin to actively apply for jobs, they also prepared for their first job interviews. Crystal conducted mock interviews to familiarize them with some of the questions they would be asked, provided feedback and continued to practice with them.
All of this hard work paid off for one 16-year-old participant, who secured her first job in the restaurant industry with the support of Crystal and the program! She continues to meet with Crystal to learn new healthy habits for planning, coping with stress, and time management. The additional assistance has helped her organize a well-balanced schedule that keeps school as her main priority, and practice habits to maintain her physical, emotional, and mental health.