YouthWorks program provides jobs for Berkeley youth

BERKELEY, Calif. — She was almost going to be cleaning up feces, cages and animals at the animal shelter, but instead Myisha Kemp spends her Saturday mornings at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market in Downtown Berkeley.

Myisha Kemp, 17, works for the city of Berkeley in the YouthWorks Program. The YouthWorks program is a year-round program offered by the Housing and Community Services Department that provides youth living in Berkeley with part-time paid jobs. Jobs range anywhere from Graffiti Abatement to Biotech.

Myisha Kemp, 17, working the YouthWorks booth at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market on Satuday. (Photo by: Natalie Wu)

Kemp spends her weekends working a booth at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market. This is her second year working for the YouthWorks Program. Last year, she had the same job heading into her senior year at Berkeley High School. This coming fall, she will be interning at the YouthWorks office while attending Berkeley Community College.

Kemp has multiple jobs at the Farmers’ Market during the summer. This includes running an info booth about eating healthy, being environmentally conscious and explaining programs that the City of Berkeley offers.

She also takes over for vendors who are in need of a break and don’t have someone else available to man their booth.

Outside of the Farmers’ Market, she helps plan events that YouthWorks is hosting and promotes YouthWorks on social media.

Along with working for the Farmers’ Market, Kemp also attends Roots of Success workshops on weekdays, which are required for her job at YouthWorks.

Roots of Success is an environmental education organization which prepares impoverished youth and adults to be part of the workforce while living environmentally-friendly lives. They do this through various educational classes including financial literacy and healthy cooking.

Kemp has also been on many trips through the Roots of Success workshop. One week ago, she was at the shoreline doing a beach clean up. Last year, she went to St. Anthony’s in San Francisco to serve meals to people who could not afford one, and her team is planning to go again this year.

The Roots of Success workshop has also changed her perspective on nutrition. By offering cooking classes, the workshop teaches students how to eat healthier while still having delicious meals.

Before attending the class, Kemp’s favorite place to eat was McDonald’s. She now enjoys cooking healthy foods and experimenting with spices.

“Next paycheck I’m excited to buy some fruits and vegetables,” Kemp said.

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