It was the first day at a new job for some teenagers in Danville.
The city began Project Image earlier this month. It’s a nine-week job training program designed to give youth an alternative to gang activity. The first class will have five job trainees, but the city plans to continue the program in the future with up to 10 participants.
“We can make a change. I think we can. And they’re here to help me and I want to help them back. So if I ever make it big one day in life, I will look out for them,” says 18-year-old Aric Gardner, a Project Imagine participant.
Some participants, such as Garner, work with mentors outside of the program.
“A program like this is once in a lifetime,” says Jason Baskerville, a therapeutic mentor with Life Push. “And for this community, it’s something great because I know there’s guys waiting to actually get involved in this program next,” says Baskerville.
The inaugural class will have jobs in city departments. But there will be a possibility for private employers to participate in the program going forward.