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Behind the Scenes: Teen writers describe what it's like to work at YCteen.
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Work & Money (100 found)
Note: These stories are from YCteen and its sister publication, Represent, which is written by and for youth in foster care.
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New York's Summer Youth Employment Program provides much-needed work experience and paychecks to thousands of teens annually. But this summer, there may nearly 3,000 fewer jobs available than last year--unless state legislators act now. (full text)
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Breanna gets carried away buying expensive brand name clothes after her mom entrusts her with a credit card. (full text)
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Tuition is getting more expensive, interest rates on student loans are going up, and George's anxiety is escalating, too. He seeks advice on how to face the challenge of college costs. (full text)
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After immigrating to New York, Shahlo must convince her parents - and herself - that pursuing her dream of higher education will be worth it in the long run. (full text)
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Donald wonders why his job applications go unanswered—until a job training program teaches him what it means to be professional. (full text)
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While Wall St. has recovered from the recession, a lot of low and moderate income workers have lost their jobs permanently. NYC reporters travel to three different neighborhoods (wealthy, moderate income, and poor) to find out on the ground how the recession is affecting people. (full text)
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Worried that she won't be able to keep a roof over her head when she ages out of care, Chimore works three jobs and has a hard time remembering that her work is not her life. (full text)
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Chantal describes both the benefits and pitfalls of having a bank account. (full text)
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The recession of 2008-2011 is the latest setback for Marco’s father, an immigrant who hoped to find financial stability when he came to the U.S. 20 years ago. (full text)
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The writer, an illegal immigrant, scrambles to find a job that pays well and won’t ask for his Social Security number. (full text)
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Xavier racks up $2,100 in credit card debt before deciding to take control of his finances. (full text)
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Diana feels ashamed that her family is on welfare—until she sees what it’s like to pay bills. (full text)
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Josbeth got her first job at 15, and working has taught her to be responsible, keep her cool, and overcome her shyness. (full text)
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Sharif faces impatient customers, uncooperative cash registers, and self-doubts during his first day at work. (full text)
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In this comic, a feminist folk singer transforms herself into a sex object to attract money and attention.
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Can money buy happiness? And how much control do we really have over our happiness, anyway? Jhanae explains psychologists' answers to these vexing questions.
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After a conversation with his father about what would happen without garbage collection, Evin reconsiders the value of different careers.
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In a roundtable discussion, five writers consider the pros and cons of ambition in its many guises.
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Parents often tell their children, "You can be anything you want to be"— but is it true? Rosie argues that it's not, and that hearing it too much encourages unrealistic dreams.
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Nesshell feels that some of her peers' ideas about their future are unrealistic. She asks readers to consider where they want to be in twenty years, and what specific steps they will take to get there.
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In a sidebar to "But How Will You Get There?," Nesshell tests out the Bureau of Labor Statistics' career information page for young people.
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Are teens' hopes of becoming rich and famous realistic? The answer is in the numbers.
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Michael Moore’s documentary Capitalism: A Love Story encourages people to fight for economic justice.
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Anita participates in a clothing swap and gets a new wardrobe for free.
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At first, Anita is turned off by the idea of buying secondhand clothes, but getting brand-name clothes at bargain prices wins her over.
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Marsha’s parents, like many immigrant parents, want her to become a doctor. A career in medicine becomes her dream too—until she realizes that she prefers writing to science.
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Marci interviews an expert on how to manage college finances, from securing financial aid to the dangers of credit cards.
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Working with toddlers in a preschool teaches Gamal more about human nature than he could ever learn in books. As he sees it, children are the last people left on earth who do and say what they truly feel. They display the same behavior and emotions of adults, but without disguise.
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Desiree works as an unpaid summer intern for New York City Councilwoman Gale Brewer. The experience changes Desiree’s view of politicians, who she assumes are cynical and self-centered people. She finds Brewer to be an honest, hardworking person who fights for her constituents.
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Kanwal enjoys meeting a variety of customers from many different places while working at an airport store.
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Erica decides that she wants to become a psychologist, but her family thinks that’s crazy.
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Working as a camp counselor-in-training, Ilya learns a lot about responsibility when a young camper scrapes his knee and he has to call for help.
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Delia is a recovering junkie. A pusher by the name of Ralph got her to join his posse when she was six, and soon Calvin and Tommy were wearing her pockets thin as she indulged her habit. Unlike so many others, she was lucky she could go cold turkey.
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After seeing a boy teased for not wearing the latest sneakers, Patricia reconsiders her attitude about high-priced name brands.
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Growing up in the ghetto, Hattie doesn’t know another world exists until she moves to a better neighborhood and realizes she can achieve much more in life.
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Desiree is thrown into confusion when her father rejects her desire to become an anthropologist, because it doesn't pay enough. She wants to find a happy medium between making money and pursuing a career she loves.
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Janill explains how to apply for federal student aid and scholarships.
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Jordan learns a lot from his summer job of talking to kids and senior citizens about the dangers of cigarette smoking and the West Nile virus.
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Lucas thinks his summer job as a camp counselor for kids will be a breeze, until he finds out his 15-year-old mind isn't much more mature than a toddler's.
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Not all goes smoothly when Jose starts his first real part-time job.
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Bucking the advice of friends and teachers, Elizabeth has decided to join the army after high school.
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Roderick considers joining the military after high school, because college seems financially out of reach.
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Zainab doesn't want another four years of education after high school. She's always liked subway trains and fixing things, so she enrolls in the High School of Transit Technology, where she's learning a trade by majoring in industrial electronics.
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Unwilling to spend $50 on a designer T-shirt, Melissa starts making her own clothes.
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Natalie looks for teens who are responsible with their money and ends up disappointed.
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Melissa describes a board game that teaches teens about the economic injustices that exploit their neighborhoods.
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Damien, a bike messenger in New York, compares riding well on its maniacal streets to what artists call "flow" or athletes call the "zone"—a mystical process demanding the discipline and determination to make split second decisions that hold one's life in the balance.
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When Donna is accepted to college she decides to live at home to save money. But when sharing a room with her sister makes it impossible to study, she takes out a loan to live in a dorm.
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Donna learns a lot from her experience working at a summer camp for the blind.
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As a new hospital intern, Sheela is afraid she won’t connect with the elderly patients. But she eventually reaches out to them, breaks their isolation, and benefits as much as they do.
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Marissa starts working at McDonald's and within two years she's running shifts by herself and training to be a manager. She wants to have her own business someday and working at McDonald's has taught her she can do that.
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While working at a New York supermarket, Tony is told to follow black customers around the store, even though most of the shoplifters are white.
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Through internships, including one at an art museum, Lyn gains work experience and learns how to speak up for herself in the office.
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A cartoon explanation of the economic downturn.
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Danielle is quiet and self-conscious at work.
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Lessons for group leaders and teachers that go with the stories "On My Own: An Aging Out Story" and "I Depend on Me" (full text)
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Introduction to an issue about money—managing it, paying for college, what jobs pay, and who you can turn to after you age out. (full text)
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The author recounts the scary countdown to turning 21 with her work hours being cut, her public housing not ready, and her foster mother's commitment shaky. (full text)
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Zhanna is fooled by the ease of buying with her new credit card, and goes into debt. She realizes the plastic had given her a false sense of power and she learns how to budget. (full text)
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Jianxin takes a summer job at a place that sells health products and earns a commission, not a salary. He works hard and never makes any money. (full text)
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Ricki writes about foster parents who seemed to be in it just for the paycheck. That lack of support pushed her toward financial independence via jobs, internships, and college. (full text)
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Chimore decides to make some money by breeding her dog Prissy and selling the puppies. She describes what she learned about being an entrepreneur through the experience. (full text)
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Taking off from U.S. News and World Report's list of top jobs, Maria gives a personalized take on jobs from pharmacist to translator to lawyer. She tells what they pay and how much training you need for each one. (full text)
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Otis's mother is tough on him yet doesn't teach him to be independent. Otis struggles with being on his own. (full text)
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Chimore wears an inappropriate T-shirt to an interview and doesn't get the job. She learns from her mistake. (full text)
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Destiny takes photos, writes, and wants to build a life as an artist. She describes her strategies for staying creative while also earning money. (full text)
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After a teen colleague calls him "unprofessional," Desmin decides that his street style doesn't work in the office. (full text)
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Chimore reluctantly takes a job at Wendy's but is surprised to learn skills she can use in many jobs, including time management, flexibility, discipline, and teamwork. (full text)
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Former Represent writer Jarel Melendez explains how he got from foster care to college to a job he loves helping foster youth at the advocacy organization Lawyers for Children. (full text)
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Lavell explains what sexual harassment is and what you should do about it if it's happening to you. (full text)
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A summary of what kinds of discrimination the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects workers from, plus information on getting a job if you have a criminal record. (full text)
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Career counselor Katherine Jo marks up the resume of a young job-seeker and explains what employers want to see. (full text)
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Otis practices his job interviewing skills with a professional career counselor and learns that he may need to edit himself a little more. (full text)
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Chimore does a mock interview with a professional career counselor and learns she may have to be more formal to get a job. (full text)
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Samantha has taken advantage of internships and work programs. She's gotten to try several fulfilling jobs, but longs for something steady. (full text)
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Using her own experience, Chimore breaks down how you get employment benefits after you are laid off. (full text)
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Marlo's lust for money gets him in trouble, but he learns to redirect that desire into a plan to become an accountant. (full text)
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Last time, Jasmine and Shawn worked on breaking bad spending habits. Now that they've started to save, how do they choose a good bank to keep that money safe? (full text)
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Chimore gets in big trouble - and debt - with her first debit card, but it teaches her valuable lessons about being careful with her spending. (full text)
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Chimore breaks down the rewards and hazards of having a credit card. (full text)
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Whether it's clothes, the latest tech gear, or a Big Mac, Anthony is constantly bombarded with messages pressuring him to spend money. How can he learn to budget his cash?
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Asia spends half her paycheck on her friend's party. The friend swears she'll pay it back and never does; Asia gets new friends. (full text)
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Chimore wants to have a good credit history because she's about to age out of foster care. Then she finds out that her identity has been stolen and fraudulent credit card accounts opened in her name.
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Financial aid problems and a busy work schedule make Merli wonder if she should drop out.
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Jarel feels better prepared for college after a year in AmeriCorps.
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Homeless and broke, the writer tries drug dealing. He eventually realizes that sleeping in a park is better than being manipulated and scorned.
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The author wonders how much your surroundings influence your goals in life.
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Tabitha interviews a music industry executive for tips on how to make it in the business.
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Jarel corrects a problem at work by speaking to the manager.
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For the most part, Jasmon enjoys working as an office assistant.
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It takes a lot of sweat and hustling, but Joseph lands a job as a freelance film editor.
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After getting his first paycheck, Jarel learns that banks aren’t just for rich people.
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A financial planner provides sensible advice on spending money wisely.
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Antwaun interviews former foster youth who are both struggling and living successfully after leaving the system.
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Erica feels used by her boyfriend, and decides she deserves something better.
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As she prepares for financial independence, Giselle works to save $5,000.
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Charlene gives tips on how youth in care can find internships.
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Xavier reviews the essentials of the job interview: what to bring, what to wear (no Timberlands, please), how to listen and respond (lose the slang), good questions to ask.
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Charlene describes how teens can get stuck in dead-end, minimum-wage jobs, and offers advice on how to achieve more.
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Scott describes how he opened a bank account at a young age and saved money while living in foster care.

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