Programs like the Torrington Area Youth Service Bureau’s Summer Youth Employment rely on financial support from the state to function. Every summer for the past 30 years, the non-profit hires and places young adults in jobs at local businesses at no cost to the business. The young workers are paid minimum wage through state funding.
With no approved state budget in June, the summer program was in jeopardy of being canceled completely. But a recent donation from Eversource helped organizers of the program to hire four students, including Pablo Cruz of Torrington. The contribution allowed Cruz to work at Brooker Memorial, a non-profit children’s organization in Torrington that provides child care and early learning, pediatric dentistry, speech therapy and more.
“This program means a lot to me,” said Cruz, 18. “When I first heard that the program wasn’t going to happen this year, I was devastated! I’m so happy this donation saved it.”
Last year, 115 young adults were placed at dozens of businesses in Torrington, Harwinton, and Burlington thanks to this program.
“This isn’t only an opportunity for these teens to work, but it’s a great way for them to learn as well,” said Tom Donaldson, the Director of the Torrington Area Youth Service Bureau. “They learn work skills; to be on time; and to manage the money they earn. Without this donation, the program would not have been funded at all and that would have been devastating.”
During a shift at Brooker Memorial, in the child care room, Cruz’s face lit up when he saw all the toddlers and babies playing. He immediately got on the floor to join the children and interact with them.
“Having young workers like Pablo is important because the children look up to them and relate to them like older siblings,” said Cathy Coyle, the Executive Director of Brooker Memorial. “The partnership with Torrington Area Youth Service Bureau is a long one and they’ve always sent us great kids.”
“This summer program provides an excellent opportunity for young adults to explore working at different businesses to find their passion,” said Rod Powell, Eversource President of Corporate Citizenship. “We're committed to making a difference in the communities we serve and supporting the Summer Youth Employment is a great way to give back to our customers and neighbors.”
Working at Brooker Memorial and being around children every day solidifies Cruz’s passion for the future. Cruz will be a freshman at Eastern Connecticut State University in the fall where he plans to study early childhood development.
“I love working with the kids,” Cruz said.