INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Veronica Whitehead’s first job as a teenager was being paid for assisting teachers at Arlington High School.
She wants her son to learn the value of working this summer when he’s home from school.
“Basically teach him responsibility and how to value money and how to save and how to prepare himself for the future,” said Veronica as 16-year-old Rylan Edmunds stood by outside of Barnes United Methodist Church. “Show him responsibility and to know that its not as easy as it looks out here and basically keep him focused on what he needs to be doing and keep him up to his school.”
Rylan said he understood, though admitting the only thing he’s good at is playing basketball.
“Its good to pay for my own stuff like haircut shoes and stuff,” said Rylan who hopes to sign on as an Indy Parks lifeguard this summer.
Inside the church, IMPD Chief Bryan Roach was addressing the congregation as part of a citywide Sunday morning blitz by the Hogsett administration to drum up support for the Project Indy summer jobs program.
“I was always asked by my parents not to be idle and always have a plan,” said Roach. “When our kids don’t really have anything to do I think its natural to get into trouble so the more opportunity that we can give our kids to be actively engaged in something and something that even more important that prepares them for the future they’ll be better citizens. I think there’s a connection there.”
Across town, Mayor Joe Hogsett was also popping in to churches to pitch his plan to hire summer youth in excess of the 2000 jobs that were provided in 2017.
“There’s a correlation between young people who don’t have a meaningful opportunity in the summer and their propensity to make bad decisions and get into trouble ,” said Hogsett. “I do know that if they’ve got nothing to do they find something to do and often times its not good.”
Indy Parks is already advertising swimming pool and camp counselor jobs that begin at $8 an hour.
Hogsett is challenging the private sector to hire young employees between the ages of 16 and 24.
“You’ve had people like Fedex, people like Starbucks, people like Lowes stores that have seen what’s going on,” said the mayor. “When the private sector sees something big going on, they want to be part of it.”