For nearly 25 years, the Ventura Youth Employment Service has been helping Ventura teens and young adults find employment under the guidance of Joyce Waldron, the service's executive director.
The agency works with people 13 to 25 years old who are looking for either full- or part-time employment. It attempts to find them jobs with businesses, homes, nurseries or day-care centers. In 1992, the four-member staff placed 3,500 teen-agers and young adults in jobs, Waldron said.
Jobs "help kids learn responsibility to commitment," Waldron said. "I find they are better adapted if they have a part-time job. They have to learn to manage their time."
Waldron, 70, said she has always enjoyed helping young people, dating back to the days when her son attended Loma Vista Elementary School and St. Bonaventure High School, where she was involved with the PTA.
The service began in 1968, when Waldron volunteered for the youth and education committee that was part of the Women in Chamber, a division of the Greater Ventura Chamber of Commerce. She became the chairwoman of the committee, and soon the group began to look for a project, she said.
"Naturally because of my interest we chose a youth project," Waldron said. "It is a tremendous challenge in seeing the need and putting every ounce of energy into fulfilling that need."
In 1979, the service became an agency member of the United Way of Ventura, Waldron said. Last year the United Way funded $20,000 to the nonprofit organization, she said.
"The Ventura Youth Employment Service is doing a genuine service that needs to be done," said Beverly Viola, director of allocations for the United Way of Ventura.
While the service works to place teen-agers and young adults in jobs, there are still 5,000 applicants on file looking for employment, she said.
While Waldron acknowledges that there is a lack of jobs, she looks forward to tackling that problem. "I love challenges," she said. "Hardships are the opportunity to become more successful." The employment service can be reached at 643-5396.