State Farm Agent Nona is fairly new to her agent role; however she’s not only thrown 100 percent of herself into her job, but also into her community. Nona grew up in a less-than ideal household.
Her mother passed away when she was just 18months old, with a father unprepared to raise her. However, she learned to be responsible for herself at an early age. She received minimal guidance from home and school about to obtain a higher education, interview for a job or manage her finances.
She always knew once she was positioned to help youth in similar situations, she’d jump in and help get the job done. A friend told her about LA Works’ youth program funded by the L.A. County Workforce Investment Board. She contacted the organization and arranged for two students to work in her agency.
Students were screened by LA Works; however, Nona added an interview, so the youth could experience this process and receive constructive feedback on everything from professional appearance to how they answered the questions. Nona wanted to be more than an employer, but also a mentor, something she could have used during her own teenage years. “I’ve always wanted to give back to the community, and after hearing about LA Works I knew this was the program for me,“ said Nona. "I understand the need for a mentor and how impactful they can be in someone’s life.” The students selected were Jasmin, a high school junior, and Joseph, a community college student.
Nona made the summer youth program a great growing experience for both participants. She took the time to get to know them and their interests so she could tailor the work accordingly.
"They aren’t just photocopying documents, but actually gaining transferable life skills," said Maureen Lynch, LA Works Youth Specialist. "Not all employers invest so much of their personal time into this process. We appreciate all that Nona has done for these kids.”
Outcomes & Benefits
Jasmin and Joseph were also appreciative: “The most important thing I learned is to be more assertive and confident when speaking with people I don’t know," said Jasmin. "I thought it would be difficult, but I was surprised to find it wasn’t.”
“The thing I like most about working in this office is they let me show them what I can do. The energy here is positive," said Joseph. Through Summer Youth Work, Jasmin and Joseph not only got work experience with a prominent business, but they were very fortunate to also get a mentor.