89.1 WEMU

Youth Employment Program In Washtenaw County Is Helping Improve Relationship With Police

Aug 18, 2016

Summer 16 program participants with supervisor Marvin Gundy.
Credit Jorge Avellan / WEMU

Washtenaw County's Michigan Works office, along with other local groups, created an employment program to help keep young people busy during the summer.  The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Community Engagement Department is one of the locations where some of those teens are working.


As part of his part time job with the sheriff's office, 17  year-old Kharee Kimber makes calls to individuals who recently dialed 911 for help.  He's getting feedback about the service.  The high school senior is one of seven employees who were hired through the Summer 16 Youth Employment Program.

Faith Whitely is another one.

"It makes me feel really important, like I matter.  A lot of adults feel like they are superior to kids, which they are, but they think we don't have a voice or that we can't make an impact , but we definitely make an impact."

Marvin Gundy supervises the teens.  He says the program also helps improve relationships between the authorities and kids by having them host an event called Youth Impact.

"It's a conversation between the deputies, the sheriff's and the youth and kind of getting rid of all the myths and the misconceptions that they may have."

The program has motivated 17 year-old Jada Weatherspoon to look into a law enforcement and government career.

"I love seeing the interactions that they have.  Seeing the courts, how that operates."

Over 40 local businesses signed up to provide part-time work for teens through the Summer 16 program.  

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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu