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DYS Hosts “Youth On the Rise” Job Fair at Alexander FacilityDate: 05/04/2017
ALEXANDER – Among the chief goals for the Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Youth Services (DYS) is to help youth in the system, successfully transition back into their respective communities.
That tenet was on full display recently at the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center (AJATC) in Alexander, as the fourth annual “Youth On the Rise” job fair was held.
“The job fair was awesome. The students were receptive to the information that the employers had for them,” said DYS Vocational Manager, Antoniette Thomas. “It was truly a great event.”
DYS houses boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 20 who require residential treatment. The state’s eight centers provide counseling, treatment, and education to residents. One of the options available for students of the Alexander facility is to meet with potential employers, with plans to expand the successful job fairs to the division’s other facilities around the state.
During her address to the students, DYS Director Betty Guhman referenced the significance of developing the right perspective about what lies ahead.
“You will eventually leave us and return to your communities. You’ll strive to graduate from high school or get a GED,” she said. “And you will then search for job opportunities. So we have a goal to assure that while you’re with us, you understand the importance of properly planning your future.”
The keynote speaker of “Youth On the Rise” was Pastor Perry Black of Family Church Bryant. He detailed the hard work it took to overcome the turmoil of his own youth to eventually become a community leader. Black passionately urged the youth to believe in their ability to make a positive societal impact.
“You’re valuable. I want you to believe in you,” said Black, who’s also the founder of Second Chance Youth Ranch. “I care about you – and your instructors care about you. They all want what’s best for you.”
There were also nine vendors in attendance. Representatives from those companies spoke with students, issued pamphlets, and provided one-on-one advice on how to either gain employment or enroll in college.
“We are so grateful for the members of our community who came out to support our students,” said AJATC Principal Martha Wall-Whitfield.
Overall, “Youth On the Rise” perfectly embodied one of the primary precepts of DYS.
“Our mission is to always give the students information so when they transition from DYS, they have jobs or career opportunities available to them,” Thomas said.
Cutline: In the photo, Department of Human Services Division of Youth Services Director Betty Guhman provides words of encouragement for youths in attendance at the recent "Youth On the Rise" job fair held at the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment Treatment Center (AJATC).