Summer Jobs And More (JAM) Program

Erie County government’s Summer Jobs and More program (Summer JAM), a collaborative effort of Erie County, the Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC), the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority and the Erie Community Foundation, is open to Erie County residents aged 16 to 21 who meet the program’s household income guidelines.

Entering its eighth year, the program provides opportunities for employers to offer positions to youth across Erie County.

GECAC offers recruitment and informational sessions for employers and participants through virtual meetings, outreach at local schools and community centers, social media blasts, and outdoor pop-up events.

Youth are matched with employers based on the employer specifications, geographic proximity and availability of reliable transportation for youth. Then GEGAC provides orientation and training sessions. Because of the pandemic, GECAC has implemented an appropriate strategy, and the Erie County Department of Health has provided a COVID-19 safety training.

Evaluation Report

Photos and Success Stories

Jade Henderson
& John Henderson

Employer: MLK Center

Brother and sister Jade and John are completing their work experience at The MLK Center this summer. John is returning for his second year in the Summer JAM Program. This fall John will be starting his senior year at Erie High School. John is hoping to someday be a professional athlete. This is Jade’s first year in the Summer JAM Program and first job. Jade will be attending Collegiate in the fall. Great job at MLK this summer!

Wakeem Page

Employer: Learning Ladder Daycare

Wakeem is a 16 year old Erie County resident who enjoys working with younger youths. So when Wakeem was placed at Learning Ladder Daycare for his 180 hour work experience, he felt “working with kids would be easy for me.” Wakeem will be sophomore at Cathedral Prep this fall. When Peer Counselor Billy conducted a job site visit Wakeem stated, “This job is great, the kids are good. I really enjoy working at the Learning Ladder Daycare.”

Back row, left to right –Devoe Norton, Ta’nise Toliver, Tajanae Lindsey, Lashun Viar Spence

Front row, left to right – Brooklyn Pabellon, Esmeralda Feliciano, Gabriela Feliciano

Employer: Career Dreams/Boys & Girls Club

Ta’nise stated, “This is one of the best jobs I have ever had!” Everyone loves the boys and girls club, because it’s all about games, learning, and having fun. There’s never a dull moment at the boys & girls Club.

Hunter Kimmy & Bella Jackson

Employer: Magnolia Run Kennels

“I love working here and being able to do the kind of work I love. I do lawn work, such as edging, trimming and mowing the lawn. I get to do so much of what I love, and it just makes my job that much better.” – Hunter Kimmy

“Working at Magnolia Run Kennels is exciting, I have a lot of fun and I love getting to take care of the dogs!” – Bella Jackson

Kendra Maker

Employer: KC’s Ice Cream

Kendra states that she loves working at KC’s Ice Cream through the Summer JAM Program. Kendra says she tries to make everything fun at work and has a wonderful attitude. Kendra list her social skills as one of her strongest workplace skill.  She is especially good at dealing with complaining customers. Kendra will be starting 11th grade at Corry High School this year and hopes to pursue business after graduating.

Employer: Double Dippers

Group Picture for Training Day! Here our Summer JAM folks are starting to master their cones.

Lily Brak

Employer: Double Dippers

Lily always wanted to work at an ice cream shop in the summer and the Double Dipper’s partnership with GECAC has helped her fulfill that dream. She is headed back to college in a few weeks to continue her quest of becoming a Physician’s Assistant. Lily also volunteers at the Community Blood Bank and assists at the front desk.

Elisabeth Stoll

Employer: Double Dippers

Elisabeth, better known as “Elle” to friends and co-workers is a first year Summer JAM participant. She describes her dream job as a fashion designer, who would create and style unique pieces of clothing.  In her spare time, she has volunteered at ServErie. Elle has “loved her time at the Double Dipper thanks to GECAC’s support!”

Emily Stoll

Employer: Double Dippers

Emily, also known as “Emi” has enjoyed her work experience this summer at Double Dipper through the Summer JAM Program this year. Emi states that her dream job is to “help people better understand their health, nutrition, and fitness.” She also volunteered at ServErie, cleaning up garbage around her town.

Kendra Maker

Employer: KC’s Ice Cream

Kendra states that she loves working at KC’s Ice Cream through the Summer JAM Program. Kendra says she tries to make everything fun at work and has a wonderful attitude. Kendra list her social skills as one of her strongest workplace skill.  She is especially good at dealing with complaining customers. Kendra will be starting 11th grade at Corry High School this year and hopes to pursue business after graduating.


Seth Bliss

Employer: Buzz of Union City

Seth has loved his first job at the Buzz of UC! Seth ensures the business is well maintained and running well by cleaning tables, washing dishes, preparing the patio every morning, etc. He works five days a week but does not complain! He is a great team worker and his co-workers are grateful for all that he does! He hopes to work with computers in his future career.

Julia Murphey

Employer: Buzz of Union City

Julia is a first-year participant in the Summer JAM program and works as a “floater” at the Buzz of Union City. A floater according at the Buzz of UC is someone who picks up work where is needed, such as helping at the drive thru, register, making drinks, etc. Staying busy is a task Julia has acquired during her High School years and has managed to do well. During her busy schedule she also attends Band Camp. She states her experience at the Buzz is also due to her manager Kathy, who has been exceptionally helpful and kind! She plans on attending IUP to study criminology and Psych.

“I want to work as a criminal profiler” – Julia Murphy

Chris Maker

Employer: KC’s Ice Cream

Chris has participated in the Summer JAM Program for 2 years and has had the wonderful experience of working at KC’s Ice Cream. Chris loves that KC’s is a small town family owned establishment. Chris states that all the employee’s “work together as a team and get along great!” Chris recently graduated from Corry High School and plans on attending Penn State Behrend in the fall. He states that communication is his strength. KC’s recently added wood fired pizza’s, which Chris enjoys making. When asked to name his least favorite duty, Chris stated, “cleaning.”

Kendall Glass

Employer: Corry Jamestown Credit Union

At the age of 16, Kendall is working as a teller at the Corry Jamestown Credit Union as part of the Summer JAM program! She has overcome some challenges such as working with the computer. Above all, she has put to her practice her customer service and problem-solving skills. Her everyday tasks include helping customers by making withdraws, deposits, cashing checks, etc. both through the drive thru and in person. She admits this job has furthered her communication skills for her future career in the medical field. She has a great relationship with her co-workers and supervisor who have been very helpful and welcoming!

“My dream job is to be a Physician’s Assistant. This job revolves around people and helping them.” – Kendall Glass

McKenzie Mitchell

Employer: City of Corry Community Center

McKenzie is a first year-participant in the Summer JAM program and has a great reputation at the Community Center for the City of Corry. McKenzie loves kids and it is evident by the way she works with them. She arrives to work every day excited to spend time with the kids whether it is playing outside, making crafts, or even giving out snow-cones to the community! She has formed a close friendship with her supervisor Keri. This fall she will be attending Warner University in Florida to study Agriculture

Nathan Lesher

Employer: City of Corry

Under the beaming heat, Nathan ensures Corry has maintained roads and beautiful landscapes. He does city park recreation and conservation, mows lawns, and works in new waterpark projects. He has loved his summer job so far and has developed a close friendship with all his co-workers who are over his age. He works hard every day but also gets to joke and laugh during lunch breaks. Outside of work, he goes to football practice with his co-workers!

“My dream job would be doing something I like and making a lot of money.” – Nathan Lesher

Anna Dow

Employer: City of Corry, North Hills Clubhouse

Anna is a first-year participant in the Summer JAM program. She loves her position including her tasks of mowing, weed racking, and maintaining the course. “There is really nothing to complain about working at a golf course,” she says. It is evident she does not see her work as a just a job, she truly loves what she does! She is currently a junior at Penn state Behrend and would like to be an Outpatient Physical Therapist.


Kyron Helmer

Employer: Corry YMCA

Kyron is a first-year participant of the Summer JAM program and works at the YMCA of Corry. Kyron is getting a head-start in his career path of Early Childhood Education. Entering his senior year of High-School, Kyron has been gaining the knowledge on the importance of the social and emotional growth of a child. He has been acquiring these skills through Co-op and Summer JAM. He enjoys being a childcare worker and is grateful to be there for the kids and parents of the community.

“My dream job is to teach children how to be the best they can.” – Kyron Helmer

Braden Higley

Employer: Corry YMCA

Braden is participating in the Summer JAM program and has loved his job at the Corry YMCA! Braden works four to six days a week, ensuring pool maintenance is done and does swim lessons for the kids! He is currently in High School but already has plans of studying Sports Broadcasting at a local college! Good luck on your future endeavor Braden!

Jack Johnson

Employer: Corry YMCA

Second-year participant Jack Johnson has great ambition for work! The previous year he was working at the Erie County Redevelopment Authority and this year he has been a front-desk receptionist and “runner” at the Corry YMCA. He admits being a “runner” can be challenging at times as he tries to find the whereabouts of all the children. Overall, he enjoys what he does and is glad to be a part of Summer JAM again this year! He plans to attend Edinboro University for Criminal Justice and eventually on becoming a police officer.

Kaitlyn Webb

Employer: Corry YMCA

Kaitlyn has been working at the Corry YMCA for two years through Summer JAM. She works five days a week as a lifeguard. When she is not lifeguarding, she is instructing swimming lessons to the kids. Additionally, she is in charge of maintaining a safe and clean pool environment and ensuring the safety of swimmers. She is currently a sophomore at Penn state majoring in Biology! Keep up the good work Kaitlyn!

Lillyana Little

Employer: Corry YMCA

In her first year of Summer JAM, Lilly demonstrates great work ethic. Five days a week she works at the Corry YMCA as a runner and daycare worker, while also doing maintenance tasks. She truly does it all! She has been working at the YMCA through Co-op during High School. Her favorite part of her job is the pool, she says it’s a lot of fun! She would like to go to college to study Counseling and Early Childhood Development! We are certain you will do well, great job Lilly!

Nicholas Albers

Employer: Corry YMCA

Second year participant, Nicholas works as a lifeguard at the Corry YMCA. He is a recent graduate from Corry High School and is now working full time to save up for trade school! He will be attending EIT to specialize in Computer Networking! Outside of work, Nicholas spends time coaching football.

Braydin Gwin

Employer: Corry YMCA

Braydin is a second-year participant in the Summer JAM program and is working at the Corry YMCA. She fulfills many positions such as lifeguard, maintenance, and front-desk receptionist. When asked about what she loved about the program, Braydin said she loves the communication, “It is very easy to get in touch with anyone from Summer JAM, and I have easy access to the resources given.” Braydin will be attending Great Lakes to become certified in sonography.

“I want to work in the healthcare field, specifically in ultrasound as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.” – Braydin Gwin

Owen Thorpe &
Even Thorpe

Employer: Assembly of God

Brothers, Owen & Evan Thorpe have both participated in Summer JAM last year.

Evan states that his dream job “would be to scout players for a professional sports team, preferably soccer.” Besides working for Summer JAM, both Evan and Owen also volunteers at the local food bank. Owen states his dream job would be, “I would love to be in the FBI and protect my country.” The brothers will be attending Northwestern High School this year.

Damareanna Mitchell &
Alison Wadswoth

Employer: Bethesda Lutheran Services

Both Damareanna and Alison are doing a wonderful job at Bethesda Lutheran Services for the Summer JAM Program. Damareanna was one of the first youths to sign up this summer! She describes her dream job as, “a veterinarian, because I like rescuing animals.”

Alison really enjoys being an Activity Aide and helping with the children. Her dream job would be in Forensic Science.

Haleigh Burlew

Employer: KC’s Ice Cream

This is Haleigh’s second year in the Summer JAM Program. She loves the flexible hours offered at KC’s Ice cream. Haleigh works 25 hours per week and has learned some great communication skills while dealing with the customers. Haleigh is pictured by the wood fire brick oven that is used to make wood fired pizzas and fire toasted subs. Stop in for one today!

Trevor Schaffer

Employer: Taco Bell

Trevor is a first year participant of the Summer JAM Program. Trevor is doing a fantastic job at Taco Bell and one day hopes to be an Area Coach. An Area Coach provides overall leadership and direct supervision of approximately 5-10 Taco Bell Restaurants! Trevor has also been in charge of an Eagle Scout Project for his church. The Summer JAM Staff is proud to have Trevor aboard!

Cayden Start

Employer: Taco Bell

Cayden graduated Northwestern High School this past June. He is a first year Summer JAM participant. Cayden is employed at Taco Bell for his Work Experience. He has been a wonderful addition to the team and will be attending college in the fall. Cayden is interested in architectural engineering. We wish Cayden all the best and hope he returns next summer!

Alexandria Lingenfelter

Employer: Buzz of Union City

Alexandra is a first-year participant in the Summer JAM program. She is a cashier at the Buzz of Union City and has learned everything about the menu very quickly! Her positive energy and smile contribute to the welcoming atmosphere you receive when walking into the Buzz of UC. She has loved her position so much she even recommends to family and friends of getting a job at the Buzz of UC. She will be leaving to the University of North Carolina this fall but plans on returning next summer to work at the Buzz again! She is also an expert on recommending drinks and pastries, thank you Alexandra for recommending the Blue Tropical Soda, it was delicious just as you said!

“My hopes are to become an English educator yet; I mostly wish to help and enrich the lives of others” – Alexandra Lingenfelter

Chase Suchar

Employer: KC’s Ice Cream

Chase is a hard worker and demonstrates his strong work ethics by working 35+ hours per week, having a great rapport with co-workers/supervisors, and completing all his tasks. Chase is a recent graduate of Corry Area High School and will be attending Edinboro University in the fall. He will major in Bio Chemistry.

Riziki Kashindi at USCRI (U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants)
Riziki Kashindi at USCRI (U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants)
Isabella Lee - Whole Foods Co-Op
Isabella Lee – Whole Foods Co-Op

Within three weeks, Isabella “Bella” Lee, a first-year Summer JAM participant in 2020, said the worksite had “become her happy place, and that work is something she looks forward to each day.” Bella had several duties at the Co-Op, including stocking shelves, “fronting” (making the store front look clean and presentable), sanitizing the store, and helping with curbside pickup and shopping. When asked if there were any aspects of the job she didn’t prefer or necessarily enjoy, she said that there were none! She enjoyed all of her duties. She loved her placement at Whole Foods. Bella hopes to take advantage of future employment opportunities at the Co-Op following her completion in the Summer JAM Program.Bella was featured in a news story about Summer JAM at the start of the program.

Kayla Whaley- KC’s Ice Cream
Kayla Whaley- KC’s Ice Cream
Kayla Whaley, a four-time Summer JAM champion, worked at KC’s Ice Cream. After two weeks, she said, “ I love working at KC’s Ice Cream. It’s become such a happy place for me.” Kayla primarily worked in the kitchen and attended to scooping the ice cream, preparing the hot food, and making sure the kitchen is stocked and ready to go. Kayla originally joined the program very hesitant because she had just recovered gallbladder surgery and was nervous about what worksite she might be placed. However, the wonderful manager at KC’s Ice Cream was happy to take her on and comply with her medical restrictions. Kayla loved her experience through Summer JAM so much she accepted a full-time job at KC’s Ice Cream when the program was over.
Mashael Khuda Karam – PRI Communities
Mashael Khuda Karam – PRI Communities

Mashael Khuda Karam is a newly graduated high school student with some serious ambition and big goals! 2020 was Mashael’s second summer in the JAM Program, where she worked at PRI Communities as an Administrative Support Clerk. In this position Mashael assisted PRI administrative managers in their daily operations. Mashael said, “I really like this job, because I am able to demonstrate my organizational skills and my attention to detail while working. It’s a new experience that I am learning from every day!”Mashael now attends Gannon University as a Radiologic Science major! She worked with her Summer JAM peer counselor on resume and cover letter materials so she could apply for part-time positions on campus while she continues her studies.

Jack Johnson – Erie County Redevelopment Authority
Jack Johnson – Erie County Redevelopment Authority
Jack Johnson was a respectful first-year Summer JAM participant in 2020. Jack worked for the Erie County Redevelopment Authority primarily in landscaping. This was Jack’s first work experience and he said he loved being outside working in landscape. However, halfway through the program, Jack’s supervisor reached out to Jack’s peer counselor expressing that he was struggling with his position. The peer counselor then spoke with both Jack and his supervisor and discovered that Jack was feeling very overwhelmed with the tasks he was given. It was decided that Jack would be given one specific landscaping task to work on each day. Jack was able to continue doing what he likes to do, being outside working, and the employer felt confident he wasn’t struggling. Jack’s story is what Summer JAM is all about, finding ways to communicate and work together to combat any issue.