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Summer Employers Recognize the Youth They Fund

Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Programs Hosts Breakfast

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Norwalk, CT | Added on April 29, 2015 At 10:00 PM

Every summer since 1998 the city of Norwalk and local employers fund youth to work in community when they are off from school through the Mayor's Youth Employment Program.  

"I'm only a product of this program and I believe I'm a success from this program as well because it gave me a chance," said SYEP participant and DPW Engineering Intern Shadram Thelusca.  

And for the second year in a row, these young workers had the chance to share their experience with city officials and those who fund the program.  

"In the past we'd just solicit money and not explain what the program is all about in any great detail, so last year we decided to start a breakfast, so they can meet some of the success stories from the program," said Mayor Harry Rilling.  

Mayor Harry Rilling joined employers, city officials, and two members of the program at Norwalk City Hall Wednesday morning for the second annual Mayor Summer Youth Employment Program Breakfast. 

"We teach them at the beginning of the program how to dress for an interview, how to interview, what to expect in the workforce and then they go out into the workforce and they put those skills to work," said Rilling. 

The Program is under the Department of Justice Initiative called Weed & Seed. It's one of several efforts that is still in operation and has grown from 33 youth workers to nearly 200 each year from ages 14 to 18.  

"I believe everyone has potential and I was only able to grow my potential because I had this platform and without it I wouldn't be the person that I am today," said Thelusca. 

"This opportunity will last them a lifetime," said Diane Matheus, SYEP Participant and former program member and People's Bank Lead Customer Service Associate. "And it's amazing that all of you can come out and help with the program and give your time and funding because to hear that there are 400 plus applicants and only 150 plus jobs, of course every kid wants to be chosen."  

Rilling says funding for the program has shifted. 

"In the past we've put dollars into it," said Rilling. "And others were funded by a grant program. Now the grant program has been focused in another direction right now so the city made up the difference." 

The program's top donors include First County Bank, Fairfield County's Community Foundation, the second taxing district and the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County. 


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