At 8:00 AM on a Wednesday morning in the summer, most 17-year-olds are sleeping, maybe dreaming about a day at the beach or a get-together with their friends. But not Erika Moreno and Jose Muller. They’re up and out and getting ready to head off to work. Every day they meet at Mineola Middle School and then take a bus to their respective job sites. Erika is volunteering as a counselor at the camp at the Mineola Pool, and Jose is volunteering at Pets 4 Luv, an animal shelter in Westbury.
Erika loves working with the kids at the day camp, and in fact, she hopes to be a teacher some day like her favorite teacher Ms. Haberman (pictured above). Though she was “kind of nervous and excited and happy” on her first day, she has settled into the routine. She says, “It feels good to have a job. To have responsibility.” Ms. Marta DeSousa, the director at the camp, is impressed with Erika and agrees that this is a good opportunity for her. Of his work at the animal shelter, Jose said, “I’ve always loved animals. I have a dog named Rosie at home.” His responsibilities include feeding the cats and cleaning up after the animals. Ms. Laurie Melesch, who is the principal of the ESY Summer Program facilitating the work study, touches base with the students and encourages their efforts. This job training program is overseen by Ms. Alex Coutrier who is so proud of each of the students’ dedication. And that dedication is evident in the fact that they’re up and out on a Wednesday morning at 8:00.