New program underway in Pittsylvania County to help at-risk kids

Program aims to help kids overcome barriers to getting job in future

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. - Teens were busy chatting each other up Wednesday morning as they finished filling out applications to be hired by West Piedmont Works to work at the community center in Gretna this summer.

Rose Lekwuwa is a career specialist with West Piedmont Works and said the program is intended for kids who may have a tough time getting a job as they get older.

"If they've ever been in trouble with the law or if they are under government assistance; if they are having trouble at school," Lekwuwa said, describing what West Piedmont Works looks for in people who apply.

"The purpose of our program is to try to help them get over those things." 

Sixteen-year-old T'kera Barley and 17-year-old Paris Calloway both filled out applications Wednesday morning.

Barley said her pastor inspired her to apply.

"My pastor, he's trying to do really good for the community and I think that I would be a role model for some of the kids," Barley said.

Calloway applied to be around people and to help her community.

She is looking forward to starting a dance team.

"Just to give children something to do; something positive," Calloway said.

The teens who are hired will be paid minimum wage and can work up to 40 hours a week.

Christina Stone is the executive assistant at the community center and said the teens will be doing a variety of jobs.

"They'll be cleaning, they'll be doing clerical work, they may work in the kitchen area because we do concessions on a daily basis," Stone said.

Anyone interested in applying can visit the Virginia Workforce Center in Danville at 211 Nor Dan Drive.

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