Bridget Flood of the Incarnate Word Foundation says, "An investment in our youth is an investment in our future."
And I agree.
Providing summer jobs to young people who live in high crime, high poverty neighborhoods is one of the top priorities of my Regional Youth Violence Prevention Task Force.
Giving kids a summer job reduces crime, increases academic success, and makes it more likely that they will get a second job. Rewarding that work with a paycheck teaches teenagers and young adults the value of discipline, sacrifice, respect, and teamwork.
That's why I am a strong supporter of a well-run program called STL Youth Jobs. MERS Goodwill trains the would-be workers on the importance of being on time and being respectful to the boss, makes sure they have a way to get to work, and even helps them open bank accounts for their paychecks.
Today, I put $100,000 into the City budget for the program. We are also allocating another $100,000 from our public safety trust fund. This investment from the City government will provide jobs for 100 at risk teenagers and young adults.
It is my hope that others will join us to support this great program. You can make a financial donation; each $2,000 donation pays the salary of one program participant. You can also hire one of these young people and pay them yourself or through program funds.
To learn more about the program and how you can help, click here.