Even though the 10 youth employees at Comprenew will be spending much of their time indoors this summer, GR Summer Jobs Journal’s first on-site visit caught the group in action outside. Comprenew is a nonprofit program that walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to responsible electronics recycling. With its zero-landfill policy and its goal to inspire the local Grand Rapids community to live and work in a sustainable manner, Comprenew keeps over 2,000,000 pounds of electronic waste out of landfills each year.
Last week, Kyle Shoemaker and Tyrell Hamilton, the youth employment leaders at Comprenew, helped the youth workers prep and plant an urban garden. The garden consists of six raised beds full of tomato, pepper and other produce plants.
“It’s a good way to create friendships during the first few days,” said Kyle. “Plus, when the plants start producing, the youth can bring the produce home to their families — it’s sort of a give back lesson.”
Each work day throughout the summer the youth will take turns from their indoor task of dissecting old electronics and head outdoors to water, harvest and weed the Comprenew garden.
But that’s not all. The youth employees at Comprenew attend a curriculum workshop each morning before work begins. “We based the curriculum off of the leader workshop the Community Foundation had a few weeks ago,” said Kyle. “We received binders with eight sections, and we are going to go through each section for each week the youth employees are with us. They’ll learn on the job training through their work, but also how to build a resume, job etiquette, and the like.”
Some of the Comprenew youth employees will likely be a part of a feature article by Rapid Growth Media. Be on the lookout for the article about the Summer Jobs program and Youth Employment grant in July. Rapid Growth photographer, Adam Bird, was on-site with GR Summer Jobs Journal snapping images of the youth workers in the garden and in the warehouse.
Favorite color: Black, White, Red and Grey
Favorite ice cream: Moosetracks
2nd summer with Comprenew
This is your second summer at Comprenew, what did you like about working here last year?
“I loved working here last year. It was a good work experience. I learned a lot. We learned how to build, and how to garden and we went on these really cool field trips to recycling places.”
What are you excited about this summer?
“I am excited to get back in the warehouse to do the hands-on work and take apart stuff. And, I am excited to meet new people. This job helped me to get a job at McDonald’s last November. So I am going to be working two jobs this summer!”
Favorite food: Pasta with red sauce
Favorite music artist: John Mayer
1st summer with Comprenew
What are your goals for the summer here at Comprenew?
“New hands on skills and learning about recycling and why it is important. Also, I will be learning job skills like commitment and focus and being on time.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I want to go to college eventually. I’d like to study engineering. I wouldn’t mind moving from Michigan, maybe to California? I want to be able to explore and have fun and enjoy life.”