Four years after graduation, a Model High School alum has found her passion in helping the children of Rome and she is doing so through a partnership between the Rome-Floyd County Commission on Children and Youth (RFCCCY) and Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Youth Success Academy (YSA).
Abby Larry met the executive director of RFCCCY, LaDonna Collins, when she was working at Snazzy Rags boutique last year and said there was an immediate connection.
“We have the same energy,” Larry said. “I wanted to come work for her right away, but because they were a non-profit they did not have a way to pay me.”
Flash forward to the beginning of January, Larry discovered the YSA’s Work Experience program which pays her a wage to work as the office assistant at the RFCCCY and gain job experience.
“Hands-on experience is my forte,” she said. “Everything LaDonna does I am doing too, just behind the scenes.”
During the commission’s 31st Annual Luncheon, the two worked in tandem with Collins presenting checks to community partners and Larry lining them up to take photos. While she has only been there for a week so far, Larry said there are several programs RFCCCY works with that she can’t wait to get her hands on.
“This is the second time we have gotten a student worker through this program and it has been great,” Collins said. “We are getting young adults who are excited about helping the Rome community.”
The RFCCCY executive director said by the end of Larry’s time at the commission, she hopes to have her set up to take the next step in her career. Collins, who once was a coordinator in Georgia Northwestern’s YSA program, said the program is a stepping stone for young adults as they launch themselves into future careers.
“The relationships and the contacts you make will guide you till your next phase in life,” she said. ““That’s almost more important to me than just the work experience.”
Collins also said she plans to help the commission’s new office assistant in planning her future career and possible return to college. According to Larry, her post-secondary journey has been different than what she imagined. After a year of classes at a four-year college Larry decided it wasn’t for her.
“I have felt hopeless for years,” she said. “No one ever told me this program was an option and now I am so excited to finally be doing what I want to do.”
“The Youth Success Academy Work Experience program partners with local small business to provides valuable paid work experience to participants in Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd and Walker Counties,” Vince Stalling, youth services coordinator for the YSA said. “Participants benefit from being able to gain income through temporary employment and local business receives free labor, which is a win-win.”
The Youth Success Academy Work Experience program is offered to 18-24 year olds with a high school diploma or GED ® diploma who are paid by the program to work at various companies and organizations. Stallings said this year the YSA is contracted to work with 60 young adults through the work experience program. Students work for four months and up to 40-hours a week. GNTC has YSA locations on the Floyd County Campus and the Walker County Campus and is a partnership between GNTC and the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission. To see a full list of YSA programs visit GNTC’s website.