During her work day, Ruth Tanner stops to smell the roses, as well as
the carnations and the other fragrant blooms she handles at Samuel’s
Florist on West Olive Avenue.
Ruth, 17, a North Hollywood resident, is employed through the
Burbank Employment and Student Training program, which has been
placing students 14 to 18 in summer jobs for the past seven years.
“I’ve never had a job before,” Ruth said. “It’s a new experience,
it’s fun and it smells good, too.”
On weekdays Ruth helps clean flowers and make floral bouquets.
On Saturdays she delivers the bouquets to Tributes, Samuel’s
floral shop at Mount Sinai Memorial Park on Forest Lawn Drive.
Donna Smith, who has owned Samuel’s Florist for the past six
years, said she hires through the BEST program because it’s a good
place to find permanent help.
“School programs are our biggest source of employees,” Smith said.
“Besides, it’s good [to] have some young people around.”
BEST Program Coordinator Maritza Cuevas said that 27 students
found minimum wage jobs this summer with several Burbank businesses
and nonprofit organizations. She placed workers at Custom Doors,
Cartoon Network, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, Dana Drugstore and
the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank.
“The experience that the students get and the training that the
program gives them will help them in the future, and show them what a
real work environment is,” Cuevas said.
Greg Hulett, 17, works three days a week at the Burbank Chamber of
Although the Burbank teenager clerks at Griffith Park’s Travel
Town, “my job at the chamber is teaching me a lot more about how
business works,” Greg said.
Ruth is glad for a program like BEST.
“It’s helpful for someone who doesn’t know how to start looking
for a job,” she said.
Although Ruth will go out of state to college this fall, she said
that her work at Samuel’s has helped her to meet and be comfortable
with people in a work environment.
“I’m planning to work in some program at school,” Ruth said.
“Working here has helped me to get to know people and be