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First foray into the workforce

Student servers gain valuable training, intergenerational experience

Created date

April 12th, 2016

Within the span of three months, the Perez triplets of Danvers, Mass., all entered the workforce.

Olivia, Gilberto, and Sofia Perez are juniors at Danvers High School. In the evenings, they work as student servers in the Overlook Restaurant at Brooksby Village, the Erickson Living community in Peabody.

“Olivia started working at Brooksby in March 2015,” says Sofia. “Gilberto started working in April 2015, and I started working at Brooksby in May 2015.”

It’s the siblings’ first job. They each work three to four shifts a week.

“This is good experience for us,” says Sofia, whose career aspiration is to be a music teacher. “We’re developing our people skills.”

Brooksby employs more than 200 student servers in the community’s five restaurants. Many students begin working at Brooksby during their sophomore year in high school.

Dining services at Brooksby offers a unique employment opportunity for students because they’re working in a multigenerational environment.

“We’re working with other students, our supervisors, and the residents,” says Sofia. “You learn how to interact with people of all ages.”

Retire Your Tie initiative

Sandy Kozlen and his wife Phyllis moved to Brooksby from Carmichael, Calif., in January 2015, to be closer to their daughter and son-in-law in Somerville, Mass.

Sandy and Phyllis dine regularly in the Overlook Restaurant and appreciate the interaction between the student servers and residents.

“Right away, we were impressed with the students and the training they receive,” says Sandy, who worked in the computer industry. “They’re learning how to interact with people, they bring energy, and they’re developing a strong work ethic.”

Sandy recently led a unique initiative to support Brooksby’s student workers.

“I had about 30 neckties I wasn’t wearing anymore,” he says. “I noticed that the students wear ties when they’re working, so I gave them my ties.”

Sandy’s neckties were distributed to student workers across the community.

“It was neat to see them wearing my ties,” says Sandy. “I thought I could round up a few more, so I contacted my Kiwanis Club in Carmichael. The club held a Retire Your Tie event and collected 125 ties. Then my Kiwanis Club reached out to the other 13 Kiwanis Clubs in our division and collected even more ties, which they mailed to me. Altogether, we donated 1,200 neckties to Brooksby’s student workers.”

Exceptional opportunity

Sandy’s investment in the lives of young people spans several decades.

“I started working with teens when my own children were teenagers,” he says. “After they were grown, I continued to work with teens through our church and my Kiwanis Club.”

Sandy was also one of the founders of the North Area Teen Center in Carmichael.

“Teenagers need opportunities to make their own money and feel the satisfaction of earning a paycheck,” he says. “I earned my first bicycle by selling 100 subscriptions to the Los Angeles Mirror.

As an entry-level position, Sandy says the server opportunity at Brooksby is invaluable for students.

“There aren’t too many opportunities for kids to jump into the marketplace these days,” says Sandy. “Even newspapers are delivered by people with cars. Brooksby is an outstanding place for young people to get their first tier of work experience.”