With the school year winding down, local high school students have a chance to get a head start on finding some summer work with the Students Helping Seniors program.
Students Helping Seniors, run by the Ladysmith Resource Centre Association (LRCA) with funding from the Canadian government, offers students a chance to gain work experience by helping seniors complete odd jobs around their home. Students provide assistance with jobs such as yard and garden maintenance, household chores, car washing, pet care and shopping and earn $10.25 per hour.
Students Helping Seniors co-ordinator Michael Williams wants seniors in Ladysmith and Saltair to know there is a program out there to help them with chores and yard work.
“I’ve dealt with seniors before, and a lot of times, when they get involved in this program, it’s a great opportunity to learn about younger people in the community, and obviously the help they get completing jobs [is a benefit],” he said.
Williams also sees a lot of benefits for students.
“I think for a lot of the kids, it’s their first work experience, and it’s a great opportunity to get work experience,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to get involved in the community, and as an added bonus, they get to make money. It benefits both [groups] and that’s why the program grew last year and hopefully keeps growing in the future.”
Students participate in an orientation session before starting work, and Williams is hoping to bring in a representative from the RCMP to talk about personal safety, a representative from Global Vocational Services to discuss resumés and someone from the Seniors Centre to speak about interacting with seniors.
Williams, who grew up in Ladysmith and is currently studying computer science at the University of British Columbia, is excited to be part of Students Helping Seniors this summer.
“I think it’s the perfect job for me because I’m kind of independently running this program, and it’s a great opportunity to develop managerial skills and be part of the community as well,” he said.
To be eligible for Students Helping Seniors, seniors must be at least 55 years of age or need assistance with activities around their home and yard; willing to provide the necessary tools, equipment and materials and willing to provide supervision and must live in the Ladysmith area.
Students qualify for the program by being between the ages of 14 and 18, living in the Ladysmith area and wanting to gain work experience. To be considered, students must complete a registration form and must attend a mandatory orientation session.
“It’s great entry-level experience,” said Williams. “I’m really going to try to push developing resumés this year. I think it’s very important to leave with skills you feel you can use in the future and also work experience you can put on your resumé. And working with seniors is something employers like to see — they know you are patient, courteous, respectful, things like that.”
Williams says some of the more common jobs include gardening, weeding, mowing the lawn, cleaning, dusting and cleaning dishes. But there are many other jobs, such as scrubbing a boat.
“There are a lot of variety of jobs and a lot of opportunities for students to try new things they might not have done before,” said Williams.
The LRCA is accepting Students Helping Seniors applications right now, and Williams hopes to run an orientation session in early June. The program will run from June until the end of August.
Williams says students’ hours are flexible, and they can work as little or as much as they want to.
“It looks like, from other years, students can make $500 in a summer if they work a lot,” he said.
To apply for the program, complete an application form in person at the LRCA office at 630 Second Ave. To learn more, contact Williams at 250-245-3079 or MikeLRCA@gmail.com.