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How summer program is opening up new possibilities for Richmond students

RICHMOND, Va. -- Dozens of employers in Richmond are opening their businesses to inner-city youth who are looking to get a head start in the workforce as part of Mayor’s Youth Academy.

Laura Meredith, Mateo Cherry and six other teens are taking their summer jobs seriously performing tasks in the DMV mailroom in Richmond.

"I like the work experience," Meredith said. "The last year I was in the MYA and worked at the Black History Museum and this year, I'm working at DMV. It's been exciting to have job experience before I graduate high school."

Cherry said the program teaches students valuable on-the-job lessons.

"They're are trying to teach us the importance of having a good work ethic. And really trying to work hard and work as best as you can doing what you're supposed to be doing," Cherry said. "And I think that's very honorable. It's good they're trying to teach that to kids so young."

These teens, who joined more than 90 other inner-city youth selected to work in various jobs across the city, also have professional mentors.

DMV Supervisor Joan Robinson said she and her colleagues look forward to the students.

"They're so respectful, willing and honest. They really bring a little different light," Robinson said. "They keep us laughing and some of our coworkers keep them laughing"

Meredith said her summer job is not only opening up new possibilities, it is also paying off.

"I'm actually saving my money, because I'm going to London tomorrow," Meredith explained. "So some of that money will go towards London and the rest will be spent very nicely."

Cherry also said he was thankful for the experience.

"I definitely think that me be being able to do this was a great thing... the experience of having to come in on my own, not having to get a ride or anything," Cherry said. "I am the only one making sure I get here on time. I think it's a very good thing that I'm here being comfortable in such a serious workplace."

Students between 14 and 19 years old must apply and be accepted to the Mayor's Youth Academy.

Click here for more information about the program. 

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