As a Euclid High School sophomore, Darion Shepherd was nervous, reserved, and quiet when he first stepped into a JOG Program classroom filled with seniors. “There were a lot of seniors, and they were loud. Back then, I was quiet. I didn’t really talk a lot. Then I got comfortable and realized the program was really good, and I became more open, and I started talking more.”
Darion was first told about the JOG Program at Euclid High School by his sophomore math teacher and, after speaking to Career Coach Ashleigh Robinson, he knew he wanted to be a part of it.
JOG is an in-school, classroom-based program with a focus on career development, employability, life and leadership skills. JOG is part of Jobs for America’s Graduates, offering drop-out prevention programs in 32 states. Follow-up services are provided to participants for a full year after graduation. JOG is focused on schools with below average graduation rates.
It wasn’t long before Darion started to notice the benefits of working through the program. “I got a job. The first job I got was as a janitor at Bluestone Elementary School, and it was good. It taught me a lot. It taught me responsibility; wake up on time, get there on time, do what I’m asked to do, don’t take too long on my break. It taught me all about work.”
Darion says there was a lot to learn when he first started in the JOG Program, including proper interview attire, soft skills needed for interviewing, and, of course, building a resume.
“People (Y.O.U. volunteers) came in with laptops and helped us put the resumes together. We went over our names, where we live, our skills, and all community service we did. That’s why community service is important.”
At his first interview, Darion says he was a little intimidated but was able to relax and rely on what he learned in JOG class. “I was nervous, shaky, and I was sweating a little bit. But when I started talking I got comfortable and was all right.”
Now, as a senior, Darion wants other students to know that the JOG Program can open doors, both professionally and personally.
“If you want to get a job and you want to get your community service hours up, you should join in a JOG Program. It’s a great program to participate in during high school. It gets you friends, experience, and it makes you open up and realize who you really are.”
JOG Programs are available at Euclid High School, Glenville High School, John Adams High School, John F. Kennedy High School, Lincoln West High School, John Marshall High School, Maple Heights High School, Shaw High School, and Thomas Harvey High School.