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In the Business of Supporting Teens

On Thursday night, approximately two dozen Winston-Salem preferred employers came together at the home of W-S Urban League CEO James Perry. The house was stirring with anticipation. The purpose: an orientation and mixer for the 2017 Summer Youth Employment Program.

Every employer was committed to supporting and mentoring teens in the Summer Youth Employment Program.

Ja’net Adams talked about her experience with the program in 2016. Three interns worked with her business last year. She taught them how to market a business, run a professional social media program, manage a lecture enterprise and more. She also mentored each intern on debt and credit management.


Allan Younger, award winning Director of the Forsyth Tech Small Business Center and  long time supporter of the Summer Youth Employment Program, was concerned that few teens had visited local colleges and universities. He committed to mentor more teens and encourage more business to mentor teens in the program.


Dana and Michael Suggs, owner of Body & Soul and President of Goler CDC respectively,were focused on the opportunity to give back to community. Dana Suggs, celebrating approximately 15 years in business saw the program as a clear opportunity to teach entrepreneurship to a younger generation. Michael focused on helping teens learn the building trades.


As the evening came to a close, James Perry remarked, “That’s what makes this program work. Companies and non-profits like all of you provide transformational experiences for teens who did not know there was a world beyond their neighborhoods.”

Each employer received a package that described the program, expectations when working with the teens and contact information for the program staff. They were prepped to teen interviews the next day. Perry thanked the Winston-Salem City Council and staff for supporting the program.

Afterwards, everyone networked until late in the evening, excited about the opportunities ahead.