Teen Team Member Program at Archway Opens Career Options to Participants

Ashley and Kimmy Zeidenburg participate in an Archway project.

By Kendall Curtis, marketing associate and graphic designer for CHHSM member Archway Communities in Lakewood, Colo. Reprinted with permission.

Archway Communities in Lakewood, Colo., has a unique summertime “Teen Team Member” program in its communities. The program is geared to helping teens entering the work field learn work skills and discover what they’re passionate about.

“When you work with us, there is an opportunity to learn things that might not be explicitly taught in another job,” said Maggie Howard, Archway’s supportive services manager. “We can specifically address personal budgeting and financial responsibility, organizing time and schedules, because this work program is focused on our teens. They are the primary concern — their education and growth.”

Of course, there are the basic concepts of getting your first job: Having responsibilities and obligations outside of your own desire, and the willingness to learn the concept of earning income; getting your first check and budgeting for purchases. In the Teen Team Member program, these are some of the things that can be experienced in an environment curated to help teens succeed and are catered to their well-being.

“But additionally, there are so many skills you learn on the job here,” Howard added. “It’s not just about personal financial literacy or personal time management, because those are all aspects of the job as a coordinator. We have budgets for all of our activities, we have lots of resident needs that we have to balance in a day in terms of our time and attention. Resident events give great event-management experience — there are steps and procedures to follow in order for things to go smoothly. So it’s really a well-rounded opportunity for our teens.”

At Archway Communities Greenleaf and Villa Verde, both in Aurora, Colo., sisters Ashley and Kimmy Zeidenburg have grown up engaged in Archway’s programs. They are regular kids club attendees and are always the first ones in line to offer their help to Howard.

“They are always here helping to set up and clean up, whether it’s for kids club or a community event,” Howard says. “They love to get involved and love to help others. Now that they are getting older, I felt it was a great next step to join our teen worker program.”

Howard knows Kimmy and Ashley’s career interests, and has sought out opportunities for them to experience these industries while a part of the program this summer.

“Kimmy wants to be a vet, and Ashley is interested in genetic science,” Howard said. You can see their love of animals in their choice of pets as well, Howard added. Kimmy has a pet boa constrictor and Ashley has a bearded dragon. They are fascinated by animals and their make-up.

“I’ve set up opportunities for both this summer to learn more about these job fields,” said Howard. “Kimmy will be visiting a local veterinary office and Ashley will get to go to the Denver Zoo to learn more about genetic science as it relates to animals.”

It is a great opportunity for the girls to begin to think intentionally about life steps. It’s easy to operate in the day-to-day — attending school, completing homework, playing with friends. But it is an eye-opening experience to begin to think about your life down the road — what you want and what it takes to get there. Do you need schooling, job experience, or a specific set of skills? Do you need to live somewhere specific? What are you willing to put into achieving this goal or dream?

“I hope they just get to learn about the options out there,” Howard said. “There are so many things available to these girls, and I hope they get to see that they are real and tangible. Genetic Science, for instance, doesn’t just have to be a thought or concept, but a real-life opportunity that Ashley can pursue. I hope they build their confidence this summer and begin to see themselves in the places they dream about.”

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