Challenge’s Summer Youth Employment Program successfully partnered in 2017 with Purity Ice Cream, one of the busiest and most popular businesses in Ithaca.
Two students in the program, including Izzy, worked regular shifts at Purity throughout the summer, taking on plenty of responsibilities, including helping to bus and set tables during the busy lunch rush, and stocking and labeling merchandise. The students were also able to shadow employees in other parts of the shop, including in the kitchen.
“I was uncertain at first how this would work because it can be stressful here,” said Purity owner Heather Lane. “But it was a really great thing. It was great because it actually did help my staff, especially in the summer time when we’re really busy. I thought it was really great for my staff to also participate, and they’ve gained from that in an empathetic way.”
Lane says she knew in the first two days that having the students. including Izzy, during the summer was going to be a positive for all involved, and credits Challenge – and specifically Employment Specialist Evie Karnes – with providing coaching and assistance whenever it was needed.
“I think for the students, they see that they need to do work, and that they have tasks to do,” Lane says. “They come in and say ‘Good morning’ to people and get their coffee. It’s an expectation. It’s a learning experience. It’s parameters of what to do at work and what not to do at work.”
As for Izzy, the experience didn’t end with the change of the seasons. Lane committed to hiring Izzy onto her staff after all of her hard work.
“I met so many nice people, and when I met Heather, we both clicked,” Izzy says. “I’m glad to be continuing working here because this has been my dream to work in an ice cream place, for a really long time.”
Izzy went on to say: “I feel like I found my talent and where I’m supposed to be.”
“You really have to be in it,” Lane said. “I really wanted to make sure that they had a successful time here. So, I worked directly the first full week with them, and committed to that.”
Challenge is thankful to community partners like Purity that are committed to helping us fulfill our mission.