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Rotary rounds up young workers

This time of year, local bulletin boards typically quickly fill up with colorful advertisements from teenagers seeking summer jobs mowing lawns, taking care of kids, doing house work or all three.

But, if the Kingston-North Kitsap Rotary has its way, this won’t be a typical summer. Moving away from the bulletin board advertisements, the newly created service organization has developed the North Kitsap Youth Job Center, which kicked off its campaign this week.

To utilize the service, kids and employers must register with the center and pay a one-time fee of $5. Employers can be anyone, from residents whose lawns need weeding to businesses seeking office assistants.

Area youth can scan the jobs on the Internet, select what they are interested in and call the center for the employer contact information. They then can contact potential employers.

Within the first week, the center had 11 jobs available and six youth registered.

“It’s a slow trickle but it’s coming,” said Rotarian Skip Peters, who serves as one of the program coordinators.

If the center can provide just 1 percent of the North End’s 2,200 kids with jobs this summer, then Peters said he will feel the project has had a successful start.

“If we can put 20 kids in jobs this summer, that will be a nice ground-rule double,” he said.

The idea to create the center hasn’t been long in the making, either. It has barely been a month since Peters mentioned it to incoming Kingston Rotary President Gene Medina during a June 2 Rotary meeting.

“His eyes got a little big and he said, ‘I’ve always wanted one,’” Peters said. After visiting Bainbridge Youth Services — which has been providing similar youth job placement services for 25 years — and getting approval from the Kingston-North Kitsap Rotary Board, Peters worked to get the word out to local schools before students went on summer vacation.

Working with fellow Rotarian Deanie Madler and the daughter of Rotarian Brad Brown, Morgan Brown, Peters was able to develop the name, the mission statement, Web site and fliers. By June 15, 2,400 fliers had been passed out to students.

Just three days later, the job center had its first registrant and job referrals from employers were starting to come in. Now, Peters and his team are plastering the area with more fliers and information cards in an effort to get the word out to additional students and employers.

“We think the kids are going to come in,” Peters said. “We have people in the community who need things done and kids who are looking for work and there is no way to get (them) connected.”

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