The District of Columbia Housing Authority’s Do Your B.E.S.T. summer youth employment program has completed another successful summer.
The Do Your B.E.S.T. (Building Excellence through Service and Training) program, which provides meaningful summer jobs to youth living in DCHA properties or who are a part of DCHA voucher programs, extended its reach into the public sector.
“The housing authority has been a proud sponsor for these 19 years of Do Your B.E.S.T.,” said DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman at the program’s culminating event. “Your future success is important to us so we and the board of commissioners make sure we fund this program every year.”
The 60 Do Your B.E.S.T. employees worked throughout DCHA’s portfolio and also at a number of external sites. Each year, DCHA works to secure more and more positions in companies, non-profits, and outside of DCHA’s portfolio for our youth.
“Our partners are fabulous,” said Sherrill Hampton, director of the Office of Resident Services. “These external positions help round out their employment experience.”
This year, DYB employees worked at the Boys & Girls Clubhouse #6, Boys & Girls Clubhouse #14, C.H.I.L.D. Center (Creatively Helping Inspire Little Dreamers), Community Service Foundation, Office of Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Dawn to Dusk Child Development Center, Southeast Children’s Fund, and Sunshine Early Learning Center.
“These summer jobs expose them to different ways of life, different cultures, and how a variety of businesses operate,” said Ron Fisher, DYB program administrator. “They are more acclimated to the working world and therefore more prepared for a future position.”
Also, this year the youth, ages 16-18, received raises. The 14-and 15-year-olds were paid $7.25—more than the Summer Youth Employment Program participants. The 16-to18-year-olds were paid $8.25.
At the commencement ceremony, Todman thanked the partners and the youth for their participation. She also offered advice.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We were all young once and thought we knew everything,” she said. “You are all wise and all brave, but you are not alone. We are here for you,”
The youth heard from keynote speak John Verrico about how their actions today are helping to set the “course for your future.”
Several of the youth spoke to their peers, highlighting what they learned and how it will impact their choices. Many of the DYB participants also received honors for integrity, leadership, outstanding performance, perfect attendance, and other awards.
Since 1997, through partnerships with more than 260 host sites in private and public sector agencies and organizations, the Do Your BEST program has employed over 1,300 youth. On average there are between 60-70 students enrolled in the program each summer.