July 26, 2004
At 13 years old, Abigail Pacheco is well on her way to snagging her dream job: A Supreme Court justice’s seat.
The Bogle Junior High eighth-grader spent the past six weeks working full time in Chandler’s Real Estate Division, learning as much as she could about property law.
Abigail attended meetings with city employees to learn how to negotiate with property owners.
She mastered new computer software, produced maps and looked up properties. She organized files, answered phones and even helped train a temporary worker.
"Everything they do is so fascinating," Abigail said. "I thought it would be better than me staying at home and dealing with my brothers."
Abigail is one of 37 chosen 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds involved in the free Leaders-in-Training Program through Chandler’s youth summer recreation program.
The program is in its fourth year, said coordinator Donald Smith.
The Chandler teens applied for the jobs and were placed in departments throughout the city to gain a real-world working experience before they can get a paying job at 16, Smith said.
They worked at Camp Challenge with special-needs kids, at the Hamilton Library organizing and shelving books and with the fire administration going on ride-alongs, among many other jobs.
A graduation ceremony for them was Wednesday at the Chandler Senior Center.
The six-week, five-day-aweek program had the young workers attend seminars on Mondays to learn skills on money management, interviewing, filling out applications and team building.
Tuesdays through Thursdays, the teens worked at their jobs voluntarily four hours a day, and Fridays were fun days to go to water parks, movies and swimming.
Juilian Hardy wants to be a surveyor and worked in the buildings and facilities department.
The Basha High School ninth-grader learned to file, answer phones professionally and tried out new software.
"I think it’s a really good program," the 13-year-old said. "I learned a lot in the workshops."