Marquis Jackson receives his Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.
Marquis Jackson receives his Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.

Marquis Jackson, an 11th grader at Coolidge Senior High School, wants to be a doctor when he grows up, and is getting early training from his summer job with the Serve DC Summer Emergency Preparedness Academy. 

Last year Jackson earned his CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certificate, through the DC Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism and Partnerships’Summer Youth Employment Program. 

“I have had peers and older siblings talk about how wonderful and amazing it is to be part of the Summer Youth Program because it prepared them for the real world and real jobs. I was and am still nervous about getting a real job in life and the Summer Youth Program helps with that,” said Jackson, who is in his second year of the program. 

Jackson’s spot in the Academy is partially funded by JPMorgan Chase as part of their five-year $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity across the United States. This year the Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism and Partnerships, Serve DC, received a $150,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase. 

With the additional funds, participating young people will receive a total of $20 per hour, while learning to build and protect resilient communities, create pathways to civic leadership and develop career possibilities, all through service.

“This program has provided me opportunities I didn’t even know I could have,” Jackson said of the program, adding that last year he met the District of Columbia police chief, fire chief and the assistant director of FEMA. 

Jackson is most excited about the experience that he has had learning to administer NARCAN, a prescription medicine used for the treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose emergency. “I think it is super amazing that Narcan prepares you and shows you how to help someone who has accidentally overdosed or purposely overdosed,” Jackson said. “To actually learn about NARCAN I think is truly amazing.”

Alexis Squire, Chief Service Officer and Serve DC Director

The program, which employs 50 students for the summer, is a culmination and collaboration of what Serve DC is all about, said Alexis Squire, Chief Service Officer, and Serve DC Director. 

“We’re making sure that young people have the skills, readiness and feel empowered to be able to know and have a training and awareness in how to be civically engaged within their community, but also have the skills to start a budding and promising career path,” Squire said

Serve DC is one of 24 city programs JPMorgan Chase has awarded across the country. “A teenager’s summer job is often their first job which sets the stage for developing necessary skills, a network and experience needed for future career success and economic mobility,” said Peter Scher, Mid-Atlantic Chairman and Vice Chair for JPMorgan Chase. “The DC Summer Youth program is giving students the opportunity to benefit from an inclusive economy and we are proud to support them on their mission in helping even more students.”

Jackson said he can see firsthand how the program has assisted in his personal growth. “Before I started working, I was all over the place. I was showing up late for things and sometimes I would easily get distracted. During last year’s program they covered time management for a whole day,” Jackson said, adding that this training has helped him learn to eliminate procrastination.

Squire said this life lesson is one of many goals for the program. “I am most proud of how our curriculum attempts to set students up for success. Coming out of the program we hope these students will learn how to show up in professional settings. We try to teach them how to collaborate and work with their peers, work in communities and become a leader.”

In addition to using his paycheck to help pay for college, Jackson said he wants to show appreciation to his mother for all the sacrifices she has made for him. 

“I want to shower her with gifts,” he said.

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