Summer Jobs Give Students Head-Start in Classroom

Summer Jobs Give Students Head-Start in Classroom

Bell Atlantic-Sponsored Program Provides On-the-job Education

September 2, 1998

Media contact: Michel Daley , 202-392-1021

WASHINGTON -- Students from the District are returning to school this fall more prepared for their class work after a summer of learning opportunities provided by Bell Atlantic. Others are ready to join the workforce with jobs they were offered after their experience in special summer programs.

Over 530 youngsters participated in Summerworks '98 and Camp Round Meadow, two job and training programs sponsored by Bell Atlantic - Washington. The programs provided opportunities for students to work and master skills that will help them in school and the workplace.

Summerworks '98

This summer, Bell Atlantic hired 30 youngsters from the D.C. Department of Employment Services' Summerworks program. Summerworks focuses on integrating education and work. The six-week program provides summer employment for youth between the ages of 14 and 21, with an emphasis on hiring children from poor neighborhoods. They also participate in workshops to learn about interviewing techniques, writing resumes and using the Internet.

"This is one of the largest, most successful summer intern programs we've ever had," said Kenneth Clark, Bell Atlantic director of External Affairs. "These youngsters learned the value of developing important work habits such as teamwork, being on time, and being responsible and cooperative. Interns also learned the value of earning money."

While Bell Atlantic hired interns and paid their salaries, most of them worked with 15 non-profit community organizations throughout the city.

"We are placing all of the Bell Atlantic interns in our college-bound program," said Linda Posell, director of the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service (a division of the D.C. Jewish Community Center). "We will match them with adult mentors and search for scholarships and grants so these students have the best chance to attend college."

Alex Arevelo, a student from Bell Multicultural High School, worked as a camp counselor with third-and-fourth graders at the Calvary Bilingual Multicultural Learning Center. Arevelo said as an intern he learned to give back to his community. "My most rewarding experience was that the kids looked up to me," he said. "One day I asked my kids to draw a picture of their idol and one of them drew a picture of me. I almost cried," he said.

Curtis Leftwich, who worked at Bell Atlantic as a management intern, said his experiences will help prepare him for the rigors of college life and graduate school. "I was able to see what it's like to work in a real office environment," he said. "I attended meetings, did a lot of research and worked with a lot of helpful people."

Mikal Bowman, a 1998 graduate of Eastern High School, was hired by Minolta as an assistant sales representative after working as an intern at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. David Allen, a computer science major from Pensacola College, accepted a part-time position at Associates for Renewal in Education.

"Summerworks is more than a job, its an opportunity," Clark said. "The experience gives these kids so much more to take back to their classrooms and the workplace."

Camp Round Meadow

This summer, over 500 fifth-and-sixth graders from the D.C. Public Schools attended a week-long camp that focused as much on the virtual world of cyberspace as it did on outdoor activities.

Each week from July 6 through Aug. 7, 80 kids from Washington, D.C. traveled to Camp Round Meadow, located in Catoctin Mountain Park near Camp David. While the camp provides familiar activities such as nature walks and recreational activities, the youngsters who attended also learned to use computers.

The Nature Computer Camp was developed by the D.C. Public School System as part of a citywide effort to help teachers and students become computer literate. The camp, based in a dormitory and training facility donated by the National Park Service, was free for all fifth-and- sixth grade D.C. public school students who did not attend summer school. Bell Atlantic joined the effort as a corporate partner by establishing the computer lab.

"Bell Atlantic's role was critical," said Stan Johnson, the director of instructional technology for D.C. Public Schools. "The company wired the mountain with high speed T1 lines, setup 37 network-capable computers with Internet access and connected the equipment to its server. What they did was amazing."

Bell Atlantic - Washington President and CEO Marie Johns said, "Supporting education is one of our top priorities. As a technology company, it's important for us to help future customers understand how technology can assist them."

The program helped students become familiar with the hardware while increasing their knowledge of software applications, including word processing and Internet browsers. Johnson said that students take their knowledge back to the classrooms where they share what they've learned with other students and teachers. "You can see their faces light up because some of these kids are using computers for the first time to expand their horizons." Johnson said.

"We redefined what a public-private partnership can do," he said. "I expressed a need and Bell Atlantic responded. The speed at which we were able to accomplish this is unheard of."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 41 million telephone access lines and more than seven million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.

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