Giving Teens a Chance

Mapping a Plan for the Future:
Internships Teach Teens Independent Living Skills

The San Diego Center for Children’s Life Skills program is successfully partnering with local businesses to teach at-risk teens important job skills while providing positive life experiences. The Center’s off-campus internship programs train San Diego’s youth about customer service, sales skills, and responsible independent living skills, such as financial management and using local transit.

Recent Independent Living Skills (ILS) program achiever, Dillon Rendo, has plans to be officially hired by the owner of Coconut Peet’s & ReRip in Ocean Beach, where he is working as an intern today.

The Center’s Independent Living Skills counselors assist teens in mapping out their plan for a successful adulthood. An ILS counselor positioned Dillon to pass his General Educational Development (GED) tests, secure his California Identification Card, write a resume, practice job interviews, get a free city transit pass, earn a Food Handler’s Certification, and land his first job internship. Dillon said, “Ms. Rachael (ILS counselor) helped with getting my stuff straight as an adult. She provided support and guidance to help me achieve what I wanted.”

“My first experience with ILS was mapping out what I wanted my future to look like and how I would get there,” said Dillon about his time with San Diego Center for Children. “One of my focuses was my education. Due to my missing credits for high school, I planned to get my GED so that I could eventually attend a community college.” Dillon passed all of his GED tests this past May.

Dillon was born and raised in San Diego, California. The majority of his youth was spent in the Spring Valley area. He grew up with his mother’s side of the family; he didn’t meet his father until he was 13 years old. The absence of his father had a great effect on him and turned him down a path that lead him to marijuana and truancy. He landed himself in Juvenile Hall in 2013, which was just the rude awakening he needed to reevaluate where he wanted his life to go. At Juvenile Hall, with a lot of free time to refocus on his passions, he committed to making some positive changes when he left.

He arrived at the San Diego Center for Children’s Clark Adolescent Residential Treatment Program in January 2014, motivated and excited to reach his potential. A smart and talented individual, he was determined to achieve whatever he could during his relatively-short six month stay with the Center. After he turned 18, Dillon was allowed to go on independent outings, and with the support of his Probations Officer and ILS Department, he was able to use the local transit system to get to Coconut Peet’s & ReRip, dance classes, and begin to live a responsible adult lifestyle.

“My internship has been quite an experience,” said Dillon. “I have learned how to interact with customers and have patience in meeting various demands. I have appreciated the opportunity of working for Coconut Peet’s & ReRip. The experience and friendships I have made there are invaluable. I look forward to continuing my relationship there.”