Teens Celebrate Graduation from Walden's Youth Employment Program

Thursday, August 8th Walden Youth Employment Program held a graduation ceremony for 10 teens who graduated the program in 2013.  Brian Maher, Walden's youthful activist mayor, contacted us. He said, "Since the inception of our program in the fall of 2009 we have employed nearly 50 Walden teens who have worked in over a dozen local Walden businesses. Our program teaches our kids to be job ready and has a education workshop component. In these workshops our youth learn many important skills such as; how to perform in an interview, how to write a resume, self branding, etc."

Brian Maher

This unique program gives teens their first real job. 

The program was funded through the generosity of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Walden. 10 outstanding youth took part this year and they worked at the following Village of Walden Businesses: Thruway Shopping Center, Village of Walden Police Department, Josephine-Louise Public Library, Village of Walden Finance Department, Walden Animal Deli, Orange County Rural Development Advisory Corporation, and Village of Walden Recreation & Parks Department.  Each youth had to first apply for the program and then each went through our job fair to have the opportunity to speak with their potential employers.  The 10 youth selected worked for 60 hours with their employer and were also expected to attend our Skills Building Workshops. 

Village Clerk, Tara Bliss administered the program making arrangements for presentations by Michael Bliss, Recreation Coordinator for the Village of Walden who spoke about team building and public speaking; Trustee Bernard Bowen who presented Finance 101 and the options they had when it comes to spending that first paycheck or saving it; Mayor Brian Maher who taught the youth about branding themselves and the importance of a positive image at an early age; and Petra Wege-Beers, Director of Career & Internship Services at SUNY Orange who gave the youth a workshop on building their resumes and cover letters. 

At the graduation ceremony each youth shared highlights from their summer experiences. Tara said, "One of the greatest parts of this program is not only the experience these youth receive working with their employers but also the fact that a number of them are still keeping their jobs to last them beyond the 60 hours our program allocates. With the help of Mike Bliss’ fabulous grant writing abilities we will be applying for the OC Youth Bureau Grant for next year’s program and encourage all Village of Walden youth ages 15-18 to apply for the program."

Look for the applications to be out in April 2014. 


Youth Participants in headlining photo (provided): Dwayne Bynum (not pictured), Peyton Clemens, Emily Dooley, Emilee Kennedy (not pictured), Hakan Kanat (not pictured), Arthur Jefferson, III, Tamara Ordonez, Ivan Pizarro, Tamantha Pizarro, Zach Randolph