VolunTEEN Program cultivates job skills and unity in Colton

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Photo courtesy City of Colton: Colton’s VolunTEEN program encompasses training in customer service, library operations and recreational leadership.

Since 2006, the city of Colton has served as a space of skill cultivation for hundreds of teenagers.

The program, which encompasses training in customer service, clerical functions and leadership, recruits 15 teenagers between the ages of 13-15 years old each summer.

“The VolunTEEN Program is six weeks long and the deadline to apply is this Friday, May 8. We’re asking locals to fill out the 2020 VolunTEEN application, which can be found on the city’s website and drop it off at the Colton Public Library,” said Nikki Green, City of Colton recreation specialist.

Before the volunteers hit the ground running in their recreational role, they each receive 16 hours of training.

“They have the opportunity to tour all of the city’s facilities, our programming and meet staff. We also teach them customer service etiquette, which includes how to answer phones, how to interact with children and seniors,” continued Green.

Another exciting portion of the program is that it encompasses a section in which the volunteers step foot into the city’s library operations.

“They will get the opportunity to work with library staff and learn how to check out library books, book organization and create crafts for various library programs,” Green said.

At the end of the six-week program, every volunteer will receive a $150 stipend.

“Within those six weeks, each volunteer works a total of 150 hours, which is 25 hours per week and at the end of it all, each of them receive a $150 stipend,” said Green.

Whether an applicant receives the opportunity to volunteer or not, many can agree that the process itself is worth the experience.

“This entire process is a learning experience for teenagers, from filling out the application to the interview and beyond. We let the applicants know how to dress to their interview and make sure to share the importance of arriving 15 minutes early,” concluded Green.

Over the years, hundreds of teenagers have cultivated their skills through Colton’s VolunTEEN program and many even choose to volunteer the following year; which speaks volumes in regard to the attainment of success in this program. 

For more information, call (909 )370-6153 or email ngreen@coltonca.gov.