BOISE -- Your first paycheck is always exciting, but for a group of local teens, it means much more.

That's because it could be the only income for their family.

Most of the teenagers taking part in the new program are homeless, or recently homeless.

The Teen Job Corps gives the youth a chance to get a head start on their future by teaching then how to get a job and how to keep it.

Heather is one of the interns, who is 15 years old and is currently living within the Boise Rescue Mission program.

"My mom is really proud of me and it makes me feel really good that I'm the one with the job," said Heather.

It's all part of a paid internship program where the teens make minimum wage about four hours a week.

"It makes me feel really good and relieved that I won't always depend on my mom to get me things I want," said Heather.

Jessyka's family has lived at the shelter as well.

"My dad is really jealous because I have a job and he doesn't and my mom is really proud," said Jessyka.

For some teens it's the only paycheck their family is getting.

And their first paychecks, no matter the amount, meant so much the excitement was clear.

"So I guess we've always been a part of the community here but it's different now that I'm staff because I'm part of the even bigger community," said 14-year-old Jessica.

The seven teens complete different tasks under different bosses.

Some work in the kitchen, others in the office, and some do clerical tasks.

They are learning job skills, along with job requirements, like how to dress, how to act in an interview, and how to budget your earnings.

Director Jean Lockhart started the program this summer. It's funded by an anonymous donor.

"So far it has been absolutely amazing, they have done a great job, they all show up for work, volunteer for other work, I've been incredibly impressed," said Lockhart.

Most of the teens are either homeless or have been homeless, so the experience is not just helping them, it's also helping their families.

It's teaching those in a difficult place, that there is always a chance at a better life...

"I felt really responsible, and I made my mom cry so that was good that she was proud of me," said Jessica.

The internship will run through August.

The director says the program is also helping by giving the teens another adult mentor in their life.

She is hoping to continue the internships next summer.

Read or Share this story: