Oakridge Youth Summer Employment Program


2018 Summer Youth Employment Program Recognition Luncheon

On Wednesday, August 9th, 2018 46 students graduated from our Youth Summer Employment Program (YSEP). We celebrated at the Wakonda Club, to award our students with a certificate and to celebrate their achievements.

YSEP provides subsidized employment opportunities for low-income high school-age youth each year. We provide eight weeks of paid part-time (20-30 hours) work experience at non-profit and public agencies throughout the Des Moines metro in conjunction with job skills workshops, career exploration, and development opportunities.

Our students come away learning the direct link between academic achievement and future career aspirations, the necessary skills needed to find and keep a job, and the value of giving back to their community through service learning projects.

Scroll below to read stories from a couple of our students who had the chance to participate this year in YSEP.

Thanks to all the business/ companies who allowed our students the opportunity to learn and work with them.

To learn more about YSEP or how to get involved, please contact the youth department director, Vernon Johnson, at 515.244.7702 ext. 139, or email youth@oakridgeneighborhood.org.

~Program Participants~

  1. Sauda A. Abdullahi — Youth Department Administration
  2. Idriss Abdullahi — Adult & Family Services
  3. Nasro A. Ahmed — BE REAL Academy
  4. Yahia A. Ali –OASIS Variety Center
  5. Jayda Allen — Iowa Department of Human Rights
  6. Teddy Barnaba– OASIS Variety Center
  7. Noordin Bille– OASIS Variety Center
  8. Nyawiech Billio– Des Moines Parks and Rec
  9. Arianna Brooks– Youth Conservation Corp
  10. Jordan Colbert– Youth Special Projects
  11. Macky J. Doctor– OASIS Variety Center
  12. Ikra Farah– OASIS Edmunds Elementary
  13. Amran Farah– Youth Department Administration
  14. Emmanuel Glahn– OASIS Edmunds Elementary
  15. Sofia A. Hassan– OASIS Edmunds Elementary
  16. Abdifatah Hassan– Play City and Wading Pool
  17. Gerald James– Play City and Wading Pool
  18. Jotha Jang– BE REAL Academy
  19. Nyadeul Jieng– Des Moines Parks and Rec
  20. Prince Jelleh– Play City and Wading Pool
  21. Baxtyr Johnson– Youth Special Projects
  22. Aroda L. Kalifa– Play City and Wading Pool
  23. Tekeze Kalifa– Hy- Vee Food Stores
  24. Simone Kapayou– OASIS Variety Center
  25. Freweini G. Kawaja– Oasis Edmunds Elementary
  26. Abino Khalifa– OASIS Variety Center
  27. Madam B. Kuany– OASIS Variety Center
  28. Kierra Lewis– Development and Communications
  29. Nydek Lock– OASIS Edmunds Elementary
  30. Muhumure Nzabakiza– Play City and Wading Pool
  31. Bonke Nganire– OASIS Variety Center
  32. Prince V. Nyaen– BE REAL Academy
  33. Prince B. Nyaen– BE REAL Academy
  34. Gentile Nyamadolari– Play City and Wading Pool
  35. Ayor M. Nyariel– BE REAL Academy
  36. Lidia Oule– Jewels Academy
  37. Antonio M. Oule– Adult and Family Services
  38. Lily J. Overstreet– Des Moines Social Club
  39. Levo Rekyte– City of Des Moines PIO
  40. Jaylnn Roberts- Lewis– OASIS Edmunds Elementary
  41. Nama Snduk– OASIS Variety Center
  42. Azaree S. Shakshak– BE REAL Academy
  43. Alex Shukuma– Smokey Row
  44. Kennedy Stone– OASIS Variety Center
  45. DaeVonna R. Strickland– John R. Grubb YMCA
  46. Zpierra M. Winters– BE REAL Academy.

Oakridge Neighborhood would like to thank the following organizations and programs that provided employment opportunities for the 2018 Summer Youth Employment Program:

  • Iowa Department of Human Rights
  • City of Des Moines Parks and Rec
  • Hy-Vee Food Stores
  • Des Moines Social Club
  • City of Des Moines Public Information Office
  • Smokey Row
  • John R. Grubb YMCA
  • Jewels Academy
  • Hy-Vee Food Stores
  • Youth Conservation Corp
  • Oakridge Neighborhood Work Sites

Levo & the City of Des Moines Public Information Office

Every summer Oakridge Neighborhood provides employment opportunities for low-income high schoolers, including 10 weeks of paid, part-time experience at nonprofit and public agencies. The Youth Summer Employment Program (YSEP) has immediate benefits- staying busy and earning a paycheck- but countless long-term benefits as well: YSEP participants know the value of work, the value of giving back to the community and how academic achievement is important to one’s career goals. This summer we decided to hear back from some of the participants and see what they learned throughout the summer and how they have benefited from the program.


“This summer I had the opportunity of working for the City of Des Moines, in their communications office. I had the chance to learn first hand what communications is all about. For example, I learned the customer the City of Des Moines is trying to reach is us! I learned the best way for us to communicate with the people of Des Moines is to get them more involved in what’s going on. I learned the city offers many resources such as:

  • City Source– The City of Des Moines’ quarterly Newsletter
  • DMTV 7- The City of Des Moines’ cable channel
  • And so much more!

I also learned the importance of teamwork. For the communications office to run smoothly, we must connect with the other offices such as parks & recreation, Public works, housing services, and much more. We are the voice for all the other offices.

This position has prepared me for the future because I had the chance to work with teams and learned how to be a good team player. Lastly, I also had the chance to further my public speaking and communicate my thoughts better.

I appreciate Oakridge for giving me this opportunity. Letting me experience the business world and how it works, I truly enjoyed it. It was nice to learn a lot from them. I would also like to thank the City of Des Moines. Having an internship at my age doesn’t happen very often which is why I am forever grateful. I will take this internship as the shaping of the beginning of my career.”