When Christopher Green attends college this fall he hopes to turn his passion for drawing into a career in graphic arts.
But before he walks through the academic halls of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, he will get some real world experience working at the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
On Monday, Green began his second straight summer of designing fliers and advertisements for Greater Jamaica as part of Delta Funding Corporation’s Biz Kidz program. The senior at Elmont Memorial High School in Nassau County knows the charcoal drawings he does for art class might not pay the bills immediately.
“I’ll design advertising to make money,” he said.
Green is one of 16 teens taking part in the Biz Kidz program. Each one started work on Monday for Southeast Queens businesses ranging from corporate giant JetBlue Airways to the local NAACP Day Care Center. Delta Funding, a Nassau County based mortgage brokerage will pay the salaries of each participant, while Carver Savings Bank will open a bank account for students and help them manage it.
“It is really important to have Carver involved,” said Russell Carter, the national vice president for community affairs for Delta Funding.
The program, which runs through Sept. 1, began last year after teens at a youth town hall hosted by state Sen. Malcolm Smith asked for the senator’s assistance in getting them jobs. Each child had failed to be selected in New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program lottery.
“We want young people to know that when you speak, we listen,” said Smith at a press conference to kick off the program on Monday.
He won a five year commitment from Delta Funding to finance the program, while his staff signed up local merchants. After a successful first year, the program added more businesses, including Silvercrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the local Allstate Insurance firm on Merrick Boulevard.
“Nothing gets me more excited as I get grayer and grayer than to work with young people. We need leaders like you,” said Cosmo LaCosta, the senior vice president for Silvercrest, pointing at his newest employee.