SAVANNAH, GA (July 22, 2015) – It was a proud day as 59 young men and women completed the Summer Pre-Apprentice Program, sponsored by the City of Savannah and SCMPD’s Savannah Impact Program.

The Closing Ceremony for the 7-week program was held at this afternoon at the Coastal Georgia Center. City leaders, members of the business community and program organizers praised the work of all the participants.

The program included math and literacy tutoring, job training, soft-skills training and on-the job experience. Thirty-five of the students were employed by the City of Savannah’s Citizens Office to paint, landscape and clean properties all over town. The other 24 youth were matched with Savannah-area businesses.

Wade Law Firm 2Sharontay Rice worked at the Wade Law Firm this summer. “I answered the phones, took calls from everyone, even people in the jail,” she said. “At times I felt like I was one of lawyers. I think I want to be a lawyer.”

The other businesses that participated were Savannah Lodging hotels (Hampton Inn Historic District and Holiday Inn Historic District), Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Colonial Oil, Savannah Area Chamber, Visit Savannah, City of Savannah Citizen’s Office, Thomas and Hutton, Thunderbolt Marine, River Street Inn, Belford’s, North Point Hospitality, and Chatham Personnel.

Davante Kittle excelled so much, his employer, Thunderbolt Marine, gave him a raise. “They taught me I could grow up and become something,” he said. “I learned you will have ups and down and as long as you get through the tough times the right way you will succeed. If you work hard, it pays off.”

Five the participants did such a great job, they are going to get to continue their employment.

The students were referred to the Summer Pre-Apprentice Program by Chatham County Juvenile Court and the Department of Juvenile Justice. They are all between the ages of 15-17 years old.

City Manager Stephanie Cutter created this program she said the goal is to invest resources to ensure that every youth faced with challenges is provided an opportunity for success afforded by a united community lending helping hands.

“I am so proud of everything these young people have accomplished,” said Asst. Chief Julie Tolbert.  “Theodore Roosevelt once said if you believe you can, you are half way there.”

Mayor Edna Jackson, Alderman Van Johnson, Alderman Carol Bell and City Manager Stephanie Cutter attended today’s Closing Ceremony event.

Savannah Impact Program Interim Director Ramona Famble said, “It’s been a rough summer for us in terms of violence and this program makes a difference in terms of keeping our kids safer, keeping our community safer and giving these young men and women the tools they need to lead a better life.”