MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- With summer approaching, Camp Lejeune’s teenagers are looking for summer employment and volunteer opportunities. To help them in that endeavor the Family Member Employment Assistance Program held a job fair at the Russell Marine and Family Center May 18.
Teens traveled on bikes or came with their parents to speak with representatives from Marine Corps Community Services, Jacksonville Police Department, United Way, the Red Cross and the youth centers aboard base.
Some looked for ways to make money, others looked for ways to spend their time and help the community. Both could lead to valuable work experience.
Akiva Battle, 16, visited the fair with his brother Devontae, 17, and sister Aaliyah, 11.
Akiva hoped to find a place to gain more experience for his arrival to the “real world” and a way to spend the summer active outside of his home. Devontae looked to gain financial independence and take on more responsibility while Aaliyah, who is too young for work, learned from her brothers what it takes to find a job or a place to volunteer.
“I want to know what kinds of jobs are out there that I can apply for,” said Akiva.
Akiva wore a crisp shirt and tie to the event. He wanted to show employers he was taking his job-search seriously, he wanted them to know he is ready to go to work.
“I want people to know I’m here for work and not to slack off,” said Akiva. “I want them to know I have manners.”
Many of the representatives attended to show the youth other ways to spend their summer days. They shared information about summer camps and volunteer opportunities.
Marilyn Smith, the assistant station manager with the American Red Cross, spoke to the teenagers about how they can help through the Red Cross at places such as Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune and the base library among other locations.
Smith looked for the same traits employers seek, dedication and commitment. She wants people who want to help and who keep the schedule they set. The Red Cross is flexible, she added. Youth work no more than 20 hours a week.
“This should not tie up their whole summer, they should go out and do kid things,” said Smith.
A drawback to seeking work as a teenager is a lack of experience, but volunteering provides a way to build a resume and learn how to succeed in a work environment.
What draws employers and volunteer organizations to youth are their fresh ideas and flexibility.
They are not set in their ways, said Lauren Welch, the director of Volunteer Onslow.
They are open to assisting in a variety of tasks and giving back, she added
This is the first job fair for teens in several years. Jobs have been scarce because many positions teens would normally fill are being filled by adults. Employers told the event’s planners adults are more reliable and professional.
To combat the stigma of young workers some of the base’s youth prepared for the challenges of seeking work through a preparation workshop April 4. Teens learned to write resumes, to market their skills and to dress for an interview and the workplace appropriately.
To find volunteer opportunities in the local community visit www.mccslejeune.com/ONH and getconnected.volunteeronslow.org.
For more information call the Family Member Employment Assistance Program at 450-1676.