Greater Generations Connects Youth to Community Through Work

Greater Generations offers a youth program designed to put young people to work improving their communities and learning job skills at the same time. 

Executive Director of Greater Generations Ebony Robinson explains, “We want to encourage productivity, self-sufficiency in young adults, and just really ensure a proper transition into adulthood.” 

Connecting youth to the community through beautification

Work experience through the program is focused on blight removal and community clean-ups. Young people learn to be a force for good in their neighborhoods by cleaning up trash and being part of the solution. Spending time actively making improvements in their community improves youth self-esteem because they see that they are making a difference. This feeling of self-efficacy (“I can do it”) translates to other areas of life including school and job success. 

Youth who are involved in service learning in their communities feel more connected and invested in those communities. Ebony Robinson said that is why the organization has the following mission statement, “By teaching the value of a community, we teach to value our community. 

Blight reduction and stronger community ties have both been shown to reduce crime. Outward improvements to neighborhoods that struggle economically and are experiencing blight and crime can make a real impact. 

Connecting youth to work with job skills

In addition to improving teens’ connection to their communities, the program provides supportive mentoring so that the young people learn about the world of work. The program improves participants’ verbal communication skills, so they develop customer relations skills. They learn better time management, including understanding the value of showing up on time, every time. Basic life skills are also woven into the program, so that the young people gain knowledge about financial literacy, budgeting their money, driving safety and basics of how to run their household. 

Work with Greater Generations is not paid, but youth can use their volunteer experience with Greater Generations to build a resume and demonstrate job skills. The young people who are in the program do receive incentives and stipends to keep them motivated and engaged. 

Greater Generations
Greater Generations provides opportunities for local youth to learn job skills. Photo from Greater Generations.

Greater Generations impact

Beyond helping youth become job ready, Greater Generations aim is long-term impact to change the lives of the teenagers and young adults. Robinson explains that she wants to prevent cases of low economic status, criminal activity and negative behavior. 

Several young people who started in Greater Generations when they were younger recently found jobs in fast food service and several others recently graduated from high school. Greater Generations began over six years ago, and Robinson said that they have plans to expand their programs to create more opportunities to impact young people’s lives. 

Learn more

Any young person from Lucas County and surrounding areas ages 12 – 24 is welcome to participate in Greater Generations. Youth are referred most frequently from Toledo Public Schools and juvenile justice, but all young people are welcome to participate to gain work experience and get volunteer hours. Youth attend the program two times a week and put in work hours once after school and on Saturdays.

To learn more, email Robinson at or call 419-270-5481.

RELATED: Toledo Guide to Volunteer Opportunities for Kids

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