Savannah's Summer 500 nearly doubles in size, businesses needed

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah teens loved the "Summer 500" program so much last year, nearly twice as many signed up this year!

The only problem, right now there are more teens than job opportunities.

"We've got close to 1,000 people that are interested in what started out as a 500 club," said Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach.

Yes, the Summer 500 in Savannah may just need to be renamed the Summer 1,000!  Mayor Eddie DeLoach spearheaded the project that pairs up teens with local businesses for a summer job.

"It's such a great opportunity," he said.  "It's life-changing for kids."

Mayor DeLoach also says the program sparked a positive change in our community keeping teens out of trouble.

"Crime was down 26 percent," said Mayor DeLoach.  "What we need to do is keep them busy so that they don't get in that situation."

Many of the teens who signed up last year had such a great experience they signed up again and told their friends to sign up. So now, there's a need for more businesses to participate.

"We're working hard to come up with those jobs because I don't want to have to have a lottery, you know, and people not have an opportunity to work who want to work," said Mayor DeLoach.

Many area business owners who took part last year said they couldn't wait to sign up again.

"We got a lot out of it last year and the kids were great," said Nina Gompels, with McDonald's. "They got a lot out of it and so we said we'll take more this year."

"We get an opportunity to teach but we also get an opportunity to learn what's important to them," said Sam McCachern, of Thomas & Hutton.
They encourage any business owner considering the program to give it a try.

"A clear example of you get more back than you put into it," said McCachern.

"I would say, 'Get your piece of paper out and sign up right now!'" said Gompels.
"Summer 500" starts the June 1, but the mayor would like to have all participating businesses in place by the beginning of May.

To find out how you can get involved, click here.

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