Program allows high school students to get head start on college or job search

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - A program in Indianapolis is giving high school students a head start when it comes to thinking about college or a career.

It's called TeenWorks and the group is just wrapping up its summer session. One of the last pieces of the program was teaching students to write resumes. While it may not be the most exciting activity, it's an important things for those teens to learn.

Leaders at TeenWorks say they want to help them overcome poverty by giving them hope for the future and teaching them skills they can use.

"When I first started, it was more, 'I'm going to have a summer job, I'm going to get paid,' but it became more than just a paycheck later on," said 18-year-old Maria De Leon, who was part of the program for the past four years.

Now she's accepted a scholarship to go to Butler in the fall.

"I'm really passionate about raising awareness of different social issues because it affects part of my community and I also see it affecting other communities as well," said Maria. "I just want to be a voice to those whose voices can't be elevated."

Through the program, Maria worked with mentors like Tammie Barney, who is the president and CEO.

"I'm the oldest child of what was a teenage mom and a lot of people didn't give us a lot of hope," said Tammie. "But we had a great education and great exposure through programs like TeenWorks when I was growing up and I think I attribute a lot to organizations like this to my success today. Not everybody is going to go to college, but hopefully everyone is going to have a career and go on to live in this community and we want all our teens to be great community citizens, give back and be a part of a positive movement."

Around the TeenWorks building are paintings done by Marianne Glick, who chairs the board for TeenWorks.

She says this program is part of her family's legacy.

"The whole idea of giving everyone an opportunity to have a great life, that's kind of what we're all about," said Marianne.

That's what they hope to continue doing through the next generation.

To find out more about TeenWorks, click here.

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