Last year, Farmington Hills resident Diane Powell helped more than 35 teenagers find jobs that kept them busy during the summer months.
While summer is still more than two months off, she is already getting calls about it and applying for grants to provide gas money for volunteers, and to feed the group when they hang out at the Costick Center in Farmington Hills.
Last year, students worked at the Palace of Auburn Hills, local fast food restaurants, and Kroger stores, in addition to helping local residents with household chores and yard work. Along with earning some cash, Powell said, they made friends. Twins Joseph and Christopher Savage “did a lot of extra work getting to the residents, and the residents fell in love with these two boys. The kids did fabulous work.”
Powell also received community support. She calls City of Farmington Hills Youth and Family Services Director Todd Lipa “an angel” for the program. “Whatever I would need, however I would fall short, he was right there to help,” she said.
The program also received help from former Farmington Hills city manager Steve Brock and council member Richard Lerner, who provided donations that helped outfit teens who hadn’t yet seen a paycheck could purchase appropriate work attire.
“It was a very exciting year,” she said. “These kids would get together, and they would drive each other and show up for jobs, and they would do an excellent job. I would always call back and get a review.”
Powell expects the program to grow this year. She has already heard from a dozen teens interested in working. Some of the teens who have been involved with the program, she said, are homeless.
“That’s why the program is so important,” she said. “The diversity of this community has changed so much. I’m trying to show kids how to do the right thing and become part of the community. This shows the kids that there is something out there for them.”
Teens interested in working this year can get applications at the Costick Center. Anyone who wants more information or to hire a teen may call Powell, 248-489-5448.