MONTROSE – Teens looking for summer jobs, internships or volunteer opportunities need to look no further than the Teen Opportunity Expo in Montrose on Wednesday, March 28, 4-8 p.m.
The event, held in the Montrose High School cafeteria, will feature local business booths, guest speakers and workshops for youth ages 14 to 19 who are looking to expand their skills, complete graduation requirements or give back to their community.
“Our goal was to give businesses and organizations an opportunity to reach out to youth for internships, volunteering or paid summer jobs, as well as give youth that opportunity to connect with businesses and organizations,” Montrose Youth Council Mayor Sierra Winfrey said.
As a teenagers’ youth organization, the Youth Council works to connect Montrose's young people with its community and local government.
So when Councilmember Ty Cary realized his peers were experiencing difficulty connecting with local opportunities, he brought the expo idea to the council. Soon after, the council started gathering business support and brought on board the Colorado Workforce Center.
The Colorado Workforce Center will facilitate three workshops set to start on the half hours (at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.) of the event. The workshops include tips for interviews, how to identify one's talents and where to look for a job.
The council has asked five community leaders to speak for a few minutes each, at the start of each hour. The guest speakers will talk about their own career paths, back when they were young, and about what motivates them now, said Carolyn Bellavance, executive assistant for the city and the advisor to the Youth Council.
Businesses will set up booths, with information and materials.
To encourage conversations with the businesses and organizations, council has collected prizes that will be awarded throughout the evening.
For more information on the event, call Sue with the Colorado Workforce Center at 249-7783 or Carolyn at 240-1420.
The Teen Opportunity Expo is the Youth Council's first large project since the program was started in October 2011, to encourage greater youth participation in city affairs and to provide the City Council with youth perspectives on its planning efforts, according to city officials.
Each member must fill out an application explaining why they want to join and are appointed by the City Council.
City Councilor Thomas Smits sat in on the Youth Council's March meeting and said he was encouraged by their interest and involvement of the students in their civic government.
The Youth Council meets once a month, and is reports to the City Council several times a year. The members' first appearances before City Council since being appointed will be on April 17.
“Youth Council has definitely given me a different perspective on how I view the community,” Winfrey said. “I'm more involved and have more respect for council and what they do. I think it's built my character as both a student and a person.”
Cary also is happy he joined the Youth Council.
“I've learned more about how government functions and what goes on,” he said. “I have a greater opportunity to have my ideas heard and implemented.”
But Cary doesn't want to stop there. He said he wants to continue to provide youth with more opportunities and, through Youth Council, listen to his peers' concerns and help find solutions to community issues.