Jontrell Pritchett took TeenQuest during his freshman year of high school. What he thought was just the path to a summer job ended up being the start of his entire career.
“The summer after my freshman year, I went to the SYI (Summer Youth Initiative) Job Fair,” says Pritchett. “I had three job offers and I chose the Food Bank because it would mean helping out the community.”
After working for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for a few years through SYI, Pritchett graduated high school and was looking for a job post-schooling. He applied for a part-time warehouse associate position with his former employer and quickly worked his way into a full-time job.
In 2020, he was promoted to inventory coordinator after two years of hard work and determination. And he is not stopping there.
“My future goal is to move up at the organization to food sourcing manager, and hopefully one day the president of the Food Bank,” says Pritchett. “I can do many different things at the Food Bank, so I see myself being here 10 plus years.”
And he wouldn’t be on that path without starting with TeenQuest.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day, I fill trucks for agencies with what we have in the warehouse as far as food and beverage. I do about 30 trucks a week and give them a variety of items. We work with the agencies to get them what they need.
How did the lessons learned in TeenQuest and SYI help you on the path to your position?
I learned that you must always carry yourself to a higher standard and be nice and honorable. It helped me get my job here and I was fortunate to be part of TeenQuest.
What is a memorable moment from TeenQuest that has stuck with you?
We were practicing interviewing each other and I slipped up and said a bad word. But then I caught myself and reevaluated when I got home. I looked up new vocabulary words and made sure I was serious about getting a job.
What advice would you offer current TeenQuest students?
My advice to TeenQuest students who want to get a summer job would be to be yourself, don’t get nervous, and carry yourself to a higher standard.
What has been your proudest moment since graduating TeenQuest?
When I got promoted to inventory at the Food Bank. I was just a 16-year-old kid when I started, and I never thought I would be back here. I worked hard when I came back and did what was expected of me. I am glad that they saw that I was working hard.
TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.