Need a hand at home? Skilled teens could fit the bill

Families that need helpers around the home can often find a corps of enthusiastic workers who can take over almost any kind of job. The key is to look for ambitious teen-agers.

At one time, our 16-year-old baby sitter branched out into vacuuming, dusting , and general cleaning on Saturdays. Once she knew the children and house well, she began to help when we entertained, allowing me to plan more elaborate dinners and to enjoy them.

When she went on to college, another teen- ager took over and event taught beginning piano lessons while our son waited for an opening in the local piano teacher's class.

A 17-year-old helped my husband build a brick patio and painted window frames and fences.

How can you find the right teen-ager to help? Contact the high school teacher whose classes correspond to the work at hand.

Exhausted neighbors with newborn twins called the local home economics teacher for help. She sent them a student who cooks, mends, and does light housework -- and plans to become a home economics major in college.

The high school shop teacher suggested a talented young man to help friends build an intricate gazebo. This woodworking wizard proved to be so good that he is helping them to convert their basement to a family room.

The typing teacher recommended an expert typist to work after school for neighbors who started a new company in their home.

If the various class teachers are unable to help, nearly all schools have guidance counselors who assist in student job placement.

You can also find youthful helpers by placing a card on the "Help Wanted" section of high school and community bulletin boards. Church bulletins, homeowner's association newsletters, and newspaper ads are excellent sources to match an ambitious teen to your needs. Many local weekly newspapers donate free and space before and during summer vacation under a "Jobs Wanted -- Youth" column.

Cities throughout the country have copied Atlanta's "Rent-a-Kid" program. Using newspaper and television publicity as well as word of mouth, these volunteer-staffed groups match employers with youngsters looking for part-time work.

"Rent-a-Kid" jobs range from cleaning out garages and attics, yard work, and washing windows to ironing, baby-sitting, and even sewing curtains. Although they are often one-time jobs, some employers have found teens living in the neighborhood who work for them steadily thereafter.

By paying the legal minimum wage for teen-age assistants, you can find delightful "instant daughters and sons" and have a waiting list of helpers for nearly any job you don't have the time or the energy to handle.

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