Each summer, Homes for Children junior high and high school students gain a sense of purpose and a paycheck through the Vocational Training Program (VTP). For two weeks, our students take part in a working environment where they learn how to apply for a position, learn how to work under a supervisor, learn new skills and learn how to work with their peers.
Participating staff members demonstrate appropriate supervisory skills, problem-solving, communication and servant leadership to the students. Caseworkers and houseparents use the students’ participation in the VTP to begin conversations about financial integrity, budgeting and stewardship. Other staff supervisors enjoy developing a personal relationship with students, something their typical workday seldom allows. Mason Elliot in the Maintenance Department, who taught the students about lawn care said, “Supervising the VTP program allowed me to build deeper relationships with the kids and it was fun to teach them new things.”
One new participant, working in the Maintenance Department, got a crash course in plumbing the first week and spent the second-week trimming trees. She discovered how much she likes working outside and is hopeful she can continue on a volunteer basis.
For the past three summers, another student has worked in the Student Activities department during the VTP, which includes working with the younger children on campus. He believes the key to success with elementary children is to love them as if they were his own family. “I’m more than sure that God is working on me through this program,” he stated. His tremendous smile is proof that the VTP is helping him to develop ideas about what he wants to do as a career. He is not yet sure what path he will follow after high school, but he knows God will use him to impact kids’ lives through whatever profession he chooses.
This year, about 30 students worked in six different departments on Boothe Campus during the VTP. Most of the students plan to save the money they earned for big purchases. Learning to save and budget their dollars makes sense for future success and are life skills we try to teach each of the students. The program is great for both staff and students and they look forward to it every year.