Elementary school children learn the value of a job

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- You're never too young to learn about the job market. Some elementary school kids are already going through the interview process to find work. Action News Anchor Dale Yurong tells us about a meaningful job program benefiting local students.

When Kari Tannous rolls out the ball cart during recess, she becomes one of the most popular kids at Malloch Elementary. Each class gets ball tokens.

Kari is a playground equipment associate. She worked hard to get this job and is enjoying herself because everyone's happy to see her. Whether it's tether ball or four square, kids like Kari play an important role.

"And then once the bell rings and they freeze. Once they're unfrozen they come back to us, return the ball and we give them back their ball token," said Kari Tannous, 4th Grader.

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The kids at Malloch are getting their first taste of meaningful employment. Job listings are posted in the cafeteria. Some positions are open, others have been filled. Special assignments teacher Suzanne Orr says the program keeps kids engaged.

"When they feel connected and part of the responsibility to the school, we see a decrease in behaviors and an increase in attendance," said Suzanne Orr, Malloch Teacher.

So kids who get into trouble begin to bloom with responsibility. So do the shy kids.

"They feel like they're part of our little community here and participating and feel like they're a wanted and needed piece of the school and that's important to have that sense of belonging," said Orr.

This year 28 jobs at Malloch Elementary are being filled by 155 students.

The job hunt is as real as can be, with kids filling out applications and dressing up for interviews at the beginning of the school year.

"They just kind of told you, 'Why do you want to do it?' I said I want to help out the people who got chosen for what they done," said Urijah Silva, Third Grader.

Urijah Silva was among the crew setting up the PRIDE Cafe. "P" is for pride, "R" is responsible, "I" for inquisitive, "D" is determined and "E" is ethical.

Urijah's impressive background landed him a job.

"At my house I mostly set up the table and stuff. Sometimes I do the dishes and stuff." said Urijah.

The kids aren't paid for their duties but often receive thank you gifts.

"Well things like pencils or little erasers or a trinket of some kind," said Orr.

Lanyards indicate a child's position. Sometimes teachers need a walkie-talkie. Someone has to write out the daily menu, and that art cart is mighty popular on the playground.

"The kids all want jobs, for sure."

Administrators and teachers from other schools have visited Malloch Elementary to see how the program works so they can bring it back to their own campuses.

ABC30 thanks its partners below for putting Children First in the Central Valley.

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