Good News: Summer 500 Program

Good News: Summer 500 kick off.

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Not all good ideas yield good results. But then, they're not all as good as the City of Savannah's Summer 500 Program.

"This is fantastic," Union Mission Executive Director Steve Allison said of the program that is giving kids something to do as well as real-life working experience. "They'll have the opportunity to utilize their time, invest their summer in a way we'll benefit because we'll have an extra set of eyes, ears and hands, and we can all use that."

One of the first initiatives Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach unveiled when he took office was this plan to put 500 high school students to work for the summer with internships offered by local companies.

The program kicked off Tuesday with introductions, with employees meeting employers, job descriptions being defined and Savannah seeing what is possible when businesses buy in to the concept of helping Savannah's youth.

"It's the same thing they did for me when I was a kid, gave me an opportunity," said DeLoach, who was at Savannah State University for the kick-off event. "And they're not doing it because they're making a million dollars. They're spending their money, and they're doing this to develop someone else. All the people in the community, I can't say enough about all the people who stepped up to do this. And they're why it's happening. It's not me. I had the idea, but the reality is them."

Wednesday morning, the students will be headed into the real world at places like Rozier International, River Street Sweets, WTOC and businesses all across the city.

"I'm just so excited," said Beach High student Nijel Hunt. "I'm ready to start already."

"I want to know what I want to do when I get older and after graduation," added New Hampstead High student Rebecca Monday. "I have absolutely no idea what I want to do yet, and hopefully this will help me figure out what I want to do, and hopefully I meet the right people who will lead me into what I want to do."

Those first steps for these students came Tuesday with a workshop, lunch and a meeting that will change their summers, their lives and maybe even their city.

"This is a legacy program," DeLoach said. "This is something we can build as far as Savannah's concerned to where we develop a great workforce that starts early that learns the skills of working and all the things that go with that."

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