Councilman De’Andre Barnes pushed for the program. He says that over the seven weeks, teens will be able to earn a little over $3,000.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — As teens gear up for summer break, a new program in Portsmouth aims to keep them away from crime by giving them jobs. The city is currently accepting applications for its “Youth Seize the Summer Program.”

Councilman De’Andre Barnes says he pushed for the program and was happy the city council passed it. “It’s going to put our kids to work. It’s going to keep them out of trouble, and it’s also going to give them skills they can use in the future,” said Barnes. 

Recently, the city opened up applications for the program online. Councilman Barnes says that over the seven weeks, teens can earn up to $3,045.00. He says it’s only available to teens between 16 and 19. 

“That’s an area where a lot of the crime is happening within our city when it comes to our kids, so we just want to give them something to do and give them the skills that they need so that it can keep them on the right path,” said Barnes.

Darrell Redmond believes the summer program is an excellent opportunity for the city’s youth. Redmond is the founder of the anti-violence group Give Back to the Block, which focuses on intervening and counseling youth.

“I just like to thank the city for always pouring into our youth. When we invest in our youth, we invest in our future. We can’t build [anything] inside of the city whether we’re talking about economic development, whether we’re talking about economic development, whether we’re talking about small businesses if we don’t first invest in our youth,” said Redmond. 

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Orion Townes said he applied for a job in the program. He is among the 130 people selected for the program.

“I really just want to get a job cause, as he said, my friend just passed away, and I really try not to think about it cause it really gets to me sometimes.”

The deadline to apply is June 30, but Councilman Barnes said teenagers should apply now because the start date for jobs is June 24.

Councilman Barnes said parents can also register kids for the City’s free summer youth program.

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