When future employers ask 15-year-old Tamar Hadjimanoukian, "What
experience do you have?" and, "Why should we hire you?" she'll have
Tamar, a sophomore at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, is spending
her summer working as a clerical assistant in the chief's office at
the Glendale Police Department. She got the job through the Glendale
Youth Alliance, which is a local, grant-supported organization that
helps place local youth into paid jobs.
Every weekdays afternoon, Tamar answers phones, does filing and
computer work for Glendale Police employees working in the chief's
"I want to do criminal law, as a lawyer, when I get older," Tamar
said. "It seems like a fun profession, and interesting, so I want to
know more about it. I was so excited when I heard about the opening
at the police department, because it fits into what I want to do.
It's awesome that the [Glendale Youth Alliance] gets us these jobs,
because no one takes you seriously as a 15-year-old looking for a
job. You need experience to get experience, and GYA gives that to
Just down the hall in the same office, 17-year-old Aroutin "Art"
Hartounian is also busy at work.
Art graduated from Hoover High School in June, and has been
working from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays at Glendale Police
Art works for Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz, collecting
newspaper articles that mention the Glendale Police Department. He
compiles the information in a binder, so everyone in the building is
"in the loop" on current events.
Art moved to Glendale five years ago from Iran, and spoke no
English. He hopes to become a police officer and later attend law
school and become a politician.
"I think this is a dream come true," Art said. "Everybody in Iran
said all I could do in America is become either a police officer or
join the military. But in America you have the opportunity to do what
you want. I want to be a police officer because I think it's
important to serve your community or country in some way. But I have
the opportunity to go as far as I want."
Both Tamar and Art earn minimum wage, which is $6.75 an hour.
The Glendale Youth Alliance, for the past 10 years, has provided
job opportunities for local youth, 14 to 21. The GYA is primarily a
grant-funded organization that operates out of the city's
neighborhood services division of the Community Development and
"They learn job skills, how to show up on time, how to dress and
relate with supervisors," said Sarah Watson, a program specialist for
the GYA. "All we ask employers for is their time, energy and talents.
We take care of the rest. We want kids to get tangible experience
they can put on a resume. We also monitor their schooling, provide
tutoring and make sure they're not ditching school and that
everything at school is going OK."
The GYA includes a summer brush clearance program, a Students
Taking Action Reaching for the Stars job program and a Glendale Youth
Employment Partnership. For more information on the Glendale Youth
Alliance, call 548-3727.