Finding a productive way to spend the summer can often prove a trying task for teenagers, especially for those under 16. Despite this, four determined teens in Georgia decided to go the extra mile to find gainful employment this summer.
Zsa Zsa Heard, LaGrange Housing Authority CEO, said she initially thought the reasoning behind Dylik Smith, 13, Jalen Parham, 13, and Desmond and Deion Woodard, both 14, wanting to work for summer was purely monetary.
The boys had been consistently inquiring about jobs for months since school ended in May. “I thought they just wanted to work for money,” Heard told The Huffington Post. But when she finally decided to give them a chance to meet with her about possible summer employment opportunities, she was blown away by the real motive behind their persistence. "That’s when Desmond told me, ‘We just don’t want to be in gangs.’"
The four teens told Heard that they'd all been approached about joining gangs towards the end of the school year and were determined to find summer jobs instead to keep them out of trouble. Inspired and moved by what they told her, Heard hired the boys on the spot to do odd jobs around the community for $7.25 an hour. She says they are all hard workers who are quick to accept any task given to them. Most recently, the foursome began building new picnic benches for the community from scratch.
When Heard shared a portion of their story on her Facebook page, it quickly went viral, garnering hundreds of positive comments from local residents and Facebook users in general.
"I want Facebook to empower these young men they walked into my office today and asked for a job," the post reads. "I said why do you want a job? They said so we won't get in trouble and we do not want to be in a gang! I said have people approached you about being in a gang they said yes'mam! I hired them on the spot! The streets will not have our children!"
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