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Natalie "Bottles" the recipe for Career Success

Natalie and 11 other teens took advantage of a unique opportunity this past summer to build their own scholarship fund as participants in the Human Resources Agency, Inc.'s (HRA) Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program (SYELP). It is part of the State's and Capital Workforce Partners' regional summer employment and learning program.

Participants deposited $50 of their weekly earnings into their new savings accounts at Farmington Bank. The American Savings Foundation and the U.S. Assets for Independence (AFI)/Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) matched their $250 savings with $2,000. By the end of the five weeks each of these youth had $2,250 in their own scholarship fund.

"Students in this program are getting a jumpstart on their college savings and on the money management skills they will need throughout their lives," said David Davison, president and CEO of American Savings Foundation.

Natalie’s job at Avery’s Beverages in New Britain was her first. "This job was the best thing that happened to me in a long time – it gave me the independence I have been wanting. I plan to work there until I go to college so I can continue to save money."

Natalie has entered her senior year at the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford. Her focus is on grades, the yearbook club and college next fall. She is also working on her Capstone project – collecting used school uniforms for the needy. Natalie is exploring career options for working with children. "I want to be a role model like I’ve been for my younger sisters."

Story excerpted from 10/21/14 press release by Caren Dickman, Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc.

cdickman@hranbct.org