Summer Jobs Give Students Head-Start in Classroom
Bell Atlantic-Sponsored Program Provides On-the-job Education
September 2, 1998
Michel Daley ,
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
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.
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
"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."
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
"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.