“It’s taught me so much about responsibility and about who I want to be as a respectful human being… It helped me come out of my shell and opened up my eyes to the kind of amazing people I can meet and opportunities I can take.”
– Bridget Nori SWOP 2019
Bridget is one of many youth who has benefited from the Summer Work Outreach Project. SWOP has been serving Iron Range youth and their communities for 23 years. Each summer SWOP provides a 6-week summer program to 40 area youth ages 11-14. The program is offered to 10 youth at each of the four SWOP sites in Chisholm, Eveleth/Gilbert, Mt. Iron/Buhl, and Virginia.
The goal of SWOP is to prepare youth for future employment and engagement in their communities. During the program youth earn a ‘paycheck’ for doing service work in the community, learn a variety of important life skills, and connect with local community leaders and elders. Youth serve their communities by helping at food shelves, libraries and elder care facilities, by picking up litter and weeds, and by helping at events like the AEOA Senior Carnival. While out in the community youth practice important life skills like introducing themselves, being respectful and responsible, accepting criticism, and taking no for an answer. The stipend that the youth earn each week allows them to develop money management skills and gives the program the feel of a real ‘job’.
SWOP provides an important service to both youth and the community. Youth benefit from the skills and confidence that they gain in SWOP. The community benefits from the service that the youth conduct in the community, the connections that are made between the youth and community members, and the development of future leaders of our communities.
Please support SWOP to help ensure that the program remains available to future youth. Thank you!