Mayor’s program pays for youths to work in The City

Allan Lin sat transfixed before a pile of building bricks, focusing intently on how he would transform the aimless heap into a worthy architectural structure.

Though it was a Monday, Lin, an 18-year-old senior at Galileo High School, wasn’t playing hooky, nor was he taking part in a new class devoted to construction toys.

Instead, he was at the San Francisco firm KMD Architects, learning the principles of architecture via the valuable lessons of Legos, as part of a career day program sponsored by the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program.

More than 260 San Francisco youths joined Lin on Monday for MYEEP’s career day, which offered glimpses of the real world at 35 different organizations around The City.

“I actually wasn’t really planning on coming, but I’m glad I did,” Lin said. “This has been inspiring for me. Now I know I want to be an architect.”

Monday’s event was one of the many ancillary programs MYEEP organizes to coincide with its annual mission of finding jobs for San Francisco youths aged 14-17, said agency spokesperson Lessa Manotti.

Originally created in the 1980s by then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein, MYEEP is a subsidized program sponsored by city government, with financial support from San Francisco’s General Fund and the Children’s Fund, a trust created in 1991 that sets aside a percentage of local tax money for youth projects.

Approximately $4.8 million will be spent in 2008 to find jobs for more than 1,500 San Francisco youth, mostly in the nonprofit and public sector, MYEEP Director Alvin Woo said.

“We try to place them in positions where they can come along slowly,” Woo said. “In nonprofit and public work, they get valuable experience, plus they also have someone to mentor them.”

Application deadlines for MYEEP jobs occur twice annually — once in April for more time-consuming summer openings and once in August for full-year positions that require less than 10 hours of work a week, Woo said.

About 950 of the program’s 1,500 students work during the summer season, Woo said.

wreisman@examiner.com

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