CLINTON — The Clinton Area Youth Initiative held its annual banquet on July 27 in the Family Life Center of the First Christian Church.
Youth Initiative students and their families, supervisors and Youth Initiative board members get together for the banquet each year at the conclusion of the program’s seven-week summer work schedule. The students perform work for a variety of agencies and organizations.
Youth Initiative coordinator Susan Cooper and program supervisor Ginny Carter introduced board members and students and thanked the many volunteers who work with the program during the summer and throughout the school year.
Clinton Area Youth Initiative is a publicly funded program for students who qualify, which helps students gain work experience and knowledge, and also helps them during the school year as well. Students who complete the program may attend Richland Community College tuition free. Each year the students are taken on a tour of the Richland campus.
Among the work performed this summer and during the school year, Youth Initiative students conducted clean up and building projects at Clinton Lake and Weldon Springs with the help of retired IDNR employee Darwin Thompson. Students put down new mulch on trails at Little Galilee Christian Assembly and helped with demolition work at the site for The Vault teen and community center.
Students also performed work for the Clinton School District, the DeWitt County Museum and the DeWitt County Friendship Center. They also helped with the Summer Lunch Program, maintained the Youth Initiative vegetable garden and cleaned lockers at Clinton school buildings.
During the school year, students also attend Homework Club at the high school one day a week.
Students in this year’s program included graduating senior Marcus Woods, who is enrolled to attend Richland in the fall, Grayson Mandrell, Kyle McGhee, Gage Guilliams, Jodi Michael, Judy Michael, Jessica Michael Kigan Muñoz and Allie Shaw.
The Youth Initiative program is funded by the Macon-DeWitt Workforce Investment Act. Its funds and expenditures are managed by the City of Clinton.
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Following is a list of work sites and activities in which students were involved:
• Weldon Springs State Recreation Area
• Celebrate Clinton
• Clinton Lake State Recreation Area
• Clinton School District
• DeWitt County Housing Authority
• First Christian Church
• Youth Initiative garden
• DeWitt County Habitat for Humanity
• C.H. Moore Homestead DeWItt County Museum
• Little Galilee Christian Assembly
• Meth Awareness Training
• OSHA and CPR certifications
• St. John’s Catholic Church
• Summer Lunch Program
• Weekend Food Bags
• The Vault.
Clinton Youth Initiative board members include Dave Beery, DeWitt County Chief Probation Officer; Rennie Cluver, Clinton YMCA director; Ben Lowers, Clinton Chief of Police; Rob Spickard, DeWitt County Chief Deputy; Darwin Thompson, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, retired; Kay Werts, Clinton High School, retired.