Here are some additional voices of area youth in response to Newt Gingrich’s comments about the lack of work ethic and habits of “really poor children.”
Carlos Baucum, 18, a senior at Ballou High School. He worked at Queens Auto Shop in Northwest. Here’s how he got there:
I was 17. I needed money. I came early to the auto shop everday to work on cars and get better. It came natural and I got even better. [when he would get to the auto shop] At shop by 6:00 am. I thought it’s a lot of people out here that needs their car fixed and I want to be one of those people, like, I can work on their cars and help them out.
I told him (Mr. Butler who runs the auto shop class at Ballou) I need a job to help out my mother and them. He was like I can help you. I started last year—in February all of February and March.
How was it?
It was great! Now I work with cars very good, and they helped me to see what I was doing wrong and I got better. I had to, like, focus on school and try to get in college and stuff.
No friends who have jobs. They say man you’re doing good out here. You ain’t gonna find a job like you got. I wish I had your job. They are telling me stick to it and all that.
At my age, people do want to work, because they don’t to be on the street and do dumb stuff to get dirty money.
Don Whitaker, 17, senior at Ballou, also worked at Queens Auto Shop. He left at 6 a.m. to get work on time each more. He earned $10 an hour. The experience, he said, “made me feel like I had something to do. [My friends] They was like I was lucky because I was making a lot of money. They had the same job that I applied for last year and I was making a little more money. A lot of friends work.
Like they want a job, they’re tired of being out there and having no money, that’s how I felt. ‘
Kayla Edwards, 16, 11th grader who interned at the U.S. Department of Transportation last summer. She wants to own a hair salon.
I was in a mentor program in 9th grade. Once I turned 16 she was like I was eligible to work for them. I went in not knowing how to do anything but I left knowing how to use computers, the importance of the airlines, how things were transported underground.
The friends that don’t want to work are like having a job isn’t worth it because they have a parent to give them money. The friends that did have a job, they said their job wasn’t as good as my job because they didn’t learn anything. My role models for work are the ones who have coffee and a briefcase and are suited up for work. It seems like I’m going to work to do something and leave knowing something.
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