We’re celebrating Youth Employment Service (YES) program leader Caitlin Lawrence as she celebrates her fourth year of working with area teens, helping them to navigate the world of work.
Since she was a teen, Caitlin has known she wanted to work with adolescents in a youth bureau or youth center setting; helping to plan a weekend-long teen event at her hometown youth bureau helped her realize this. She says, “It provided me with a much-needed sense of belonging and I recognized the lasting impact that a group like this can have on a young person. That was the first time I remember thinking, ‘I want to work at a youth bureau!’” Though she has held a variety of other jobs in the years that followed, ultimately she found her way back to her original goal of working at a youth bureau.
YES is impactful to its participants in many ways, but the biggest impact according to Caitlin is, “The relationship and one on one support provided by the YES Rep...I think many teens appreciate that kind of care and attention with a mentor.” Along with the dedicated support of YES staff, being part of the program also allows teens to gain real-life experiences and real-world knowledge through workshops, trainings, and summer jobs.
Caitlin and her co-workers continually ensure their program is as equitable and efficient as possible, while also providing teens with the support they need in their first work experience. Empowering participants and watching them flourish and grow into young adults is rewarding to her and gives her hope for the future. Although Caitlin is passionate about every aspect of the program, one of the things that gets her most excited is when a YESConnect teen gets hired for a job they applied for.
Her fellow staff members also make the job fun. Recently when one co-worker left for a new job, Caitlin shared how they gave her a proper send-off. “We gathered a few instruments, conjured our musical talents, and gave Charlene the performance she deserved on her last day of work! We sang and played to the tune of "Jolene" by Dolly Parton, even included some chilling harmonies.” Sounds like a proper send-off, indeed.
Cheers to Caitlin on her work anniversary! The Youth Bureau is grateful for her continual support of area teens and for helping them build a solid foundation for their future. Congratulations!