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Kids help kids get jobs, stock up for school

Score one for the good guys! Several dozen Clark County interns have banded together to help their fellow youth gain independence and security. They’re collecting both professional attire for teens to wear to job interviews and back-to-school clothes and equipment for younger kids. The items will go to Peggy’s Attic at Child Haven, a distribution center for children in the custody of the Clark County Department of Family Services.

The project is the sweetest fruit born of an 18-year-old program called the Summer Business Institute. Sponsored by the county and business community, the eight-week program is open to incoming juniors, seniors and college freshmen. More than 700 kids applied in January; 108 were selected to attend business and leadership training camp and then assigned to paid internships at public and private offices around Greater Las Vegas. They work eight hours a day Monday through Thursday, and then attend life skills, financial planning, civic engagement and mentoring workshops on Fridays.

A community project is part of the interns’ civic engagement commitment, which they fulfill in addition to their regular job duties. Two of the four teams — dubbed blue and red — are working on the Peggy’s Attic project, while the other two focus on separate art- and medical-focused initiatives. The blue team is organizing the donation drive for job interview attire; it will culminate in a fashion show on Saturday, July 26, from 2-5 p.m. in the Pyramid Room of the Clark County Government Center. The red team is gathering backpacks, school uniforms and other supplies; its crowning event will also be July 26, but from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Child Haven gymnasium.

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“We talked about what we wanted to do to engage the community and to give back,” says Karl Catarata, a Valley High School junior in the International Baccalaureate program, who’s on team blue. “We have had to learn to communicate well with each other to overcome issues, but it’s rewarding. There are a lot of life skills involved.”

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