A Stepping Stone for High School Students: Junior Learning Guides

YouthQuest is an afterschool program for students in grades K-12, but some of the high school students involved in the program aren’t participants. Rather, they’re employees.

The positions – called Junior Learning Guides – are created for juniors and seniors who have graduated from the TeenQuest pre-employment program. The students assist Learning Guides with meals, activity support and more.

“It gives them the opportunity to see how an afterschool program operates from the inside,” says Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education & Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, which oversees both YouthQuest and TeenQuest. “It’s a great way to gain work experience and develop skills in lesson planning and classroom management.”

Often, Junior Learning Guides were once YouthQuest students themselves. And it’s not uncommon for them to leave for college, and later return as a Site Team Leader.

“They come full circle,” Hunyady says. “The program has made such an impact on their lives, and they want to give back to the organization that helped them.”

Sophia Howell is a senior at Carman-Ainsworth High School who is currently working as a Junior Learning Guide. Howell helps with keeping track of students’ dinners, passing out snacks, cleaning the lunch room and signing students in and out of program.

She says the experience is helping her prepare to become a teacher.

“I have learned to have patience,” says Howell, noting that her leadership and problem-solving skills have also improved.

According to Hunyady, YouthQuest aims to help students build skills for the future, and offering jobs to high school students offers one more way to do that.

“Our goal is to help students develop in a number of areas – not just academically,” Hunyady says. “By giving them the opportunity to be a Junior Learning Guide, we can help them develop important interpersonal skills and teach them things they may not learn in a classroom.”

There are currently Junior Learning Guide positions available. Any junior or senior in Genesee County who has graduated from the TeenQuest program is eligible to apply.

To apply, download and complete the Learning Guide application.

For more information about YouthQuest, visit yquest.org or call (810) 600-1422.

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.