Sweat dripped and soaked their clothes, but Rickey Harris and Garrett Bond didn't show the pace as they dug weeds, cut grass and swept debris from the lot at 14th and Church streets NW.
Harris and Bond were glad to be working, and they wanted to do a good job.
Tom Turchan, owner of Turchan Construction Co., had hired them for two days through the odd jobs program at the Kingman Boys' Club, 1523 Kingman St. NW. The club coordinates minimum-wage, odd jobs for youths, most from low-income families in the metropolitan area.
Often there are more youths needing work than there is work available. Those who've received short-term work and done good jobs this summer, however, ensured more opportunities for others who want to earn cash doing odd jobs.
Harris and Bond, for instance, got their jobs because brothers Kenny and Allen Watts did "superb" work three weeks ago for another company. That company was so pleased with the Watts brothers' performance that it urged Turchan to hire kids from the club.
Young people need the jobs they get through the club, said Lonnie Duren, director of the program: "But we can only do so much. It's up to the residents to help out and provide these youngsters job opportunities."
The odd jobs program, which is funded by St. John's Episcopal Church, has advertised recently on television and radio, seeking jobs. Few people have responded to the ads, Duren said, while in the meantime more youths have called seeking work.
"If the big stores would respond, they could be a big help to these kids," he said. "A lot of businesses think youth who need work are covered by the government's YES (Youth Employment for the Summer) program, but the larger percentage of youth are still unemployed."