Hannah Brobak is turning Facebook into a verb.
The 15-year-old Bonney Lake High sophomore has been hired by the Bonney Lake Chamber of Commerce to help create and update Facebook and Twitter pages for its members, courtesy of a six-week summer program through Resource for Education and Career Help, or REACH.
“The REACH summer program is a collaboration of four Workforce Investment Act providers: Goodwill, Tacoma Community House, Centro Latino and Vadis,” Director Kurt Miller said.
Funded through a $2.5 million federal stimulus package to Pierce County’s Youth Empowerment Program, REACH provides training and job opportunities for participants between the ages of 16 and 24. The program also covers a 20-hour workweek at $8.55 per hour, the state’s minimum, and training is required and unpaid, he said. “Every Friday for six weeks there are classes in resume writing, financial literacy, cultural competency, conflict resolution and college tours.”
Brobak said she was enthusiastic after discovering REACH through a job fair hosted by her school. After following through with a REACH informational meeting, she liked what she saw.
“I’ve always wanted to get a summer job and get some summer cash to save up,” she said. “I went to its meeting and filled out the paperwork. It was really exciting.”
It’s that kind of enthusiasm Miller likes to hear about.
“These jobs have two benefits for the youth,” he said. “Many of these young people have not had a job before, so work experience is provided for them; others may have had a job but need one for various reasons, especially due to their family or individual income. It also gives them money that can be used for living or school expenses.”
After giving REACH her nod of approval, Brobak sought just the right job opening.
“They had us go and look at the job list,” she said. “All of them were in Buckley and Tacoma. Then, one was for Bonney Lake and I was so excited for it because it would be difficult for my parents to drive me farther.”
That opening was a chamber office position, posted by Bonney Lake Chamber of Commerce Director Lora Butterfield. She discovered the program after learning of it through a newspaper article.
“When I saw it, I thought it would be a great thing for our members to use,” she said. “I’m always hearing how they can’t afford more help – how they’ve had cutbacks. This is a great way for them to get a little extra help with a summer project.”
Butterfield hired Brobak with the hope she could connect its members with online social networking sites. After introducing her at a chamber meeting, it took no time for Brobak to find her niche – or for Butterfield to realize she’d hired the right person for the job.
“I’m on Facebook, so it was a natural fit,” Brobak said. “I was really lucky to get this one.”
One of her first tasks involved helping a member create a Facebook page. Within 24 hours its business’s fan base had already grown to 60. And though she hasn’t earned a degree in marketing, it didn’t take much time for her to realize that businesses must perpetually seek new ways to drive in business.
She wasn’t shy about offering her suggestions.
“I think they should have a link on their Facebook page to go to their Web site,” she explained. “That’s really helpful because a lot of people are on it. If you search it, it will go to your page.”
“Put photos in your album because a lot of people want to see what (the business) looks like,” she said. “You can put in a photo on your profile and it should be your professional mug. And I like how they can set it up to have a fan club.”
Thanks to REACH, Brobak’s job is a win-win for both her and the chamber.
“She’s learning that when we set up the page, we’re able to send it to (members’ Facebook) friends and I send it to all my friends,” Butterfield said. “She’s also learning networking skills. She’s great about it; of course, all the young kids now have experience with the computer. She came into this already having a Facebook page, so she was familiar with it.”
While Brobak is thankful to use her skills to help others – while getting paid – Butterfield is equally impressed with her work and the opportunity to participate.
“We will absolutely pursue this next year,” Butterfield said. “With them seeing Hannah this year, they’ll at least be familiar with (REACH.) It kind of familiarizes them with the program.” Contact REACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 253-383-3951.
To comment on this story view it online at www.blscourierherald. Reach Judy Halone at email@example.com or 360-802-8210.