Moving Picture: Leading area kids down road to success
Curt Misavage retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 2006 and was looking for something to do.
In 2008, he volunteered to help paint the exterior of the Outreach Community Ministries building in Carol Stream.
Now, four years later, he's still there, working as a part-time facilities manager and a mentor to incoming high school students.
Misavage says he had just started working as facilities manager when officials of the outreach center approached him about starting a Youth Employment and Education Program to help teach high school students building, maintenance and general job skills.
The effort proved so successful, there are now more requests to participate in the program than available spaces.
He was able to work with only three students this summer because of funding restraints, but Misavage says he'd like to help more.
"I would love to have a whole classroom of students," he said.
Participants help maintain the Carol Stream building and learn to use tools and cleaning techniques that will help them no matter what career they pursue, Misavage says.
They're paid by the hour for their work, and Misavage says he's proud that he's never had a teen fail to show up or come late without calling first.
This summer, students did several larger projects at the facility, including framing and pouring a concrete step outside one of the doors, and repairing a collapsed metal railing used by other students to access a play area.
Misavage says he's seen more than one student who was having trouble in school join his program, turn themselves around and then head off to college. That's the theme of almost all the programs at Outreach Community Ministries, he says — helping students become successful, thriving members of society.
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