By Bob Weaver

The summer youth work program familiar to Calhoun residents no longer exists, but a new year-round, life-experience, goal orientated program has taken its place, according to Jennifer Buttrey of the Children's Home Society in Parkersburg, the organization coordinates the program for the Workforce Investment Board.

Kids will no longer report to a work site and just cut weeds, paint and repair. They must be involved in a year-round program which requires meetings, field trips, counseling or educational sessions.

Calhoun County appears behind the lurch, with two weeks left before the program begins. County Clerk Richard Kirby says he would not sign-off on a number of items regarding "things that were yet to be created."

Kirby said he was asked to agree to sign-off on at least 40 conditions in April, with some conditions alluding to a handbook, which had not been provided. He said he received a handbook yesterday.

Kirby said the community was not well educated on the changes, which he believes has caused a problem. While Kirby believes the program could have good intentions, kids in rural Calhoun County "will suffer trying to comply."

"The simplicity of the program was generally to help kids earn some money for survival and school," he said. "Now, it has become a more complicated process with high goals." The summer program had 62 kids last year. That number has been reduced to 48, with a small number of the applicants eligible for general work duty. The Workforce Investment Program must provide fifteen elements to the program, according to Buttrey.

It appears the local school system, a few local agencies and the Town of Grantsville will enroll some kids, but Kirby says it is unlikely the program he has supervised will have 50 or more kids enrolled, again.

He said it is no longer a just a "work program."

Buttrey said the program now matches kids to career goals and will now have enrichment activities. She believes it is now a "quality program" which will make a difference in the lives of children. The Children's Home Society has made transportation arrangements for participants.

Kirby said these kinds of programs are designed for urban areas, but when they filter down to Calhoun County "They just don't work as well. I would like to see it work for the kids."

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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