First Job, First Step
Kenneth Noka started working with the Elizabethtown Social Center in June to complete his court mandated community service hours. Ken worked four 5-hour days a week to complete 90 hours at the center and during this time earned the respect of his superiors. One of Ken's goals when he commenced his work with YAP was to redeem his dirtied reputation and he accomplished exactly that with his work. Ken was able to apply himself and earn an offer to continue working for the Social Center once he finished his community service.
Originally, Ken was scared as this was his first experience with a job. He was nervous that he would be treated like a delinquent due to his reputation. In reality, Ken worked under the watchful eye of a man who Ken has come to greatly respect. "(Bill) and I have come closer; we talk about anything and everything and get the work done at the same time." Ken says Bill "is upfront with everything. He is more than respectful; he is selfless."
Over the summer, Ken learned skills and lessons that he thinks will help him get ahead in life. ''I've never held a job before so it feels good making this paper. I'm happy to do it, I'm happy to stay busy and I'm happy they gave me a second chance at the Social Center."
As this was Ken's first job, he found a part-time schedule to be tiring during the long summer days. "I understand how hard people work for their keep and how much effort it takes. Coming home after a five hour day is one thing; I'm tired and ready to eat. A 10-hour day though... that is a completely different story."
"Having a job feels like you are doing something right; you're doing something. You're not just sitting around watching the world pass." Ken described previous summers as lazy and boring; this summer was different. "I value my free time more. You can't do what you want to do without doing what you have to do."
Ken's experience has been challenging to say the least, but his attendance and relationship with his supervisors speaks volumes about his determination. "I've definitely gained a sense of determination. Before I was a hard worker for things I liked, now I am a hard worker because I have to be hungry to keep my job."
Ken will continue working with the Social Center on a limited basis once school commences. Both he and his supervisors are extremely happy with his work and attitude.