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Project Imagine participants today received instruction on life skills and available resources that will assist them upon completion of the program.
Now at its midpoint, the nine-week work readiness program gives gang-affiliated youth a future off the streets by providing them with a paid work experience and mentoring while on the job.
“We don’t want to just drop them off at the end of the program,” Robert David, the City’s gang violence prevention and youth services coordinator, said Friday. “We want to give them direction that will serve well going forward.”
The program, which is for ages 15 to 21, debuted on Oct. 15. Five teenagers ages 17 and 18 are in the first class. They are working at jobs within the Public Works and the Parks and Recreation departments.
“You have work experience now that you can put on your resume when you leave the program,” David told the teens.
To supplement their work experience, David talked today about the importance of setting goals, and he led the group through a training exercise to establish goals.
“Setting goals is not just for now,” said David, who also serves as a life and recovery coach and motivational speaker. “You can use this the rest of your life.”
A representative from Danville Community College shared information about classes and training programs that are available.
ValleyStar Credit Union representatives presented a program on managing money.
Project Imagine participants receive hands on training at a work site up to 40 hours per week through partnerships with city departments, non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice provides the referrals to the program, which is funded through the Virginia Workforce YES program.