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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | July 24, 2008

Teens volunteer time with 316th Wing multimedia, services, legal offices

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna 316th Wing Public Affairs

For high school or college students, summer break is the light at the end of the tunnel. It's no more teachers no more books. It's the beach, barbeques and baseball. But for those students who wish to spend their summer gaining valuable work experience, the Prince George's County Executive Office has a program geared for them. 

Each summer the executive office provides Prince George's County high school and college students ages 14-21 an opportunity to receive hands on experience in a professional office environment. 

Chavery McClanahan, a 20 year old North Carolina Central University student, Janiqua, 16, and Kabriea, 15, Robinson, Dr. Henry Wise Jr. High School, Uppermarlboro, Md., are three of the students who filled out the online application on the PGCEO's web site. 

Ms. McClanahan is working in the Judge Advocate's office here at Andrews, while Janiqua is working with the 316th Wing Public Affairs multimedia lab and Kabriea is working with the 316th Services Squadron marketing office. 

The Robinson sisters resumes made their way to Mrs. La Verne Jones' desk. Immediately, Mrs. Jones, who is the 316th Mission Support Squadron Labor and Employee Relations Officer, was impressed with how well put together the sisters' resumes were. 

Originally, they were looking for summer jobs but they were unable to secure paying positions. That's when Mrs. Jones informed the Robinson sisters that they could still volunteer at the 316th Wing if they chose to do so. 

The girls took all of a few seconds to think it over and told Mrs. Jones they would volunteer. 

"We didn't have to think it over very long," said Kabriea. "The money wasn't important, but the fact that we would get experience definitely was." 

With the multimedia lab Janiqua has many responsibilities said Tech Sgt. Craig Clapper, the Multimedia NCO in charge. 

"Janiqua is learning video editing, helping with photo shoots, and facilitating interviews with personnel on base," said Sergeant Clapper. 

Janiqua has also been a key asset helping with a video project for the Air Force District of Washington, he continued. 

Sergeant Clapper thinks Janiqua's decision to stay on this summer as a volunteer is not only wonderful, but impressive as well. 

"Her volunteering is going beyond what I'd expect from someone who's not even a junior in high school," said Sergeant Clapper. "She has a bright future." 

Janiqua hopes to take all the knowledge and experience she's gained this summer and use it to help her achieve her dream career; she wants to work in the entertainment industry making movies. 

Kabriea is learning a wide range of skills this summer with marketing, said Jerome Spearman, the director of marketing for 316 SVS. 

"Kabriea is being trained in typing, photography, and graphic programs," said Mr. Spearman. "She also helps to update the base marquees." 

In addition to her Services duties, Kabriea also helps out in the civilian personnel office, proving just how well rounded she is, said Mr. Spearman. 

"Kabriea is a very personable, outgoing girl who's willing to learn anything," said Mr. Spearman. 

"By the end of the summer, Kabriea will be able to take a project from start to finish and show how just how much she's learned," said Mr. Spearman. "Kabriea, being so young, offers a unique perspective because she knows what sells." 

Kabriea said she hopes to come back here next summer to work and gain even more valuable photojournalism experience. 

"What I love about journalism is that you get to explore something, tell its story, all while seeing many different places," said Kabriea. 

"You can see her excitement grow each day," said Mr. Spearman. "She'll go far." 

When Ms. McClanahan was informed that the only spot in the legal office available was a volunteer position, her desire to be here did not waiver, said Mrs. Jones. 

"It was all about the experience I'd gain and getting my foot in the door," said Chavery. "Once I realized what it'd mean to my future, the cons to not getting paid just went out the door." 

"JAG is a career I hope to pursue upon entering the military," said Chavery who is also a part of Air Force ROTC Detachment 585 from Duke and North Carolina Central Universities. 

Working in the Judge Advocate's office gives Ms. McClanahan an opportunity to work hand in hand with some of the brightest minds in the Air Force while gaining valuable experience in the law field. 

"Chavery conducts legal research, evaluates fundraising requests for legal sufficiency, as well as inspects reports of survey for lost or missing items in a unit," said Capt. Rhea A. Lagano, chief of General Law, 316th Wing Judge Advocate's Office. 

In her short time here Ms. McClanahan has already impressed those around her with her intelligence and passion. 

"Her choosing to volunteer here this summer shows her passion to the Air Force," said Captain Lagano. "She's taken every assignment and attacked it enthusiastically which shows how focused she is on her future." 

The success of this program would not be possible without a joint effort between the student wishing to learn and the professionals in the office taking the time to mentor as well, said Mrs. Jones. 

"I love the way they embrace their young people and share their knowledge," said Mrs. Jones. 

Students wishing to take part in this fantastic program next summer, can call the Prince George's County Executive Office at 301-883-6350 for more information. 

"This is such a great program that provides young people the opportunity to gain valuable work experience that will lay the foundation for their future," said Mrs. Jones.