Summer brings education to teens in jobs program

Photo by Donna Rogers- Paula McCoy speaks with Chronicle Urban League intern Lajoya Carter.

Summer brings education to teens in jobs program
August 31
03:00 2017

By Lajoya Carter, For The Chronicle

Jobs in the summer might be hard to come by for teens, but the Winston-Salem Urban League’s Summer Youth Employment Program helps out.

The program serves low-income teens ages 15 to 19. Each teen earns a stipend while learning career skills from employers during the summer. One of the employers is The Village and Produce Country Store.

This summer, interns from the program had the opportunity to work with TheVillage Produce.

“It all started several years ago,” stated Paula McCoy when asked about the background of Village Produce, a store she co-owns with her husband, Jerry Anderson. The couple bought the property back in 2008, and later on turned what was a food desert into a thriving produce store. Striving to keep their food fresh is a consistent process.

“The idea is to turn them quickly, so that means we need foot traffic coming in so that it could move quickly,” McCoy said. That means that depending on how many customers usually come in, they limit the amount of produce they buy. They keep their system in this order so that the amount of food that’s thrown away won’t be so high.

The best part about shopping at The Village Produce is everything is farm fresh. The produce comes from local farmers, and they try to carry items that are convenient for customers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

In the back of The Village Produce is a vendor that once owned his own bookstore called Special Occasions on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. His name is Ed McCarter, and he’s a very influential man. He has books autographed by the author that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. History is documented in the collection he has, and he’s willing to let people know about it. He’s available Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Summer Culp, a sophomore at Parkland High School, is one of the Urban League interns working at The Village Produce this summer. She expressed that it was interesting working with McCoy because she learned new things every day and she was able to learn about retail.

Simone Miller, a sophomore at East Carolina University, another intern, learned how to interact with people more and communicate with them. They both agreed that they recommend that their family and friends shop at The Village Produce.

McCoy wants her interns to walk away with the experience of work ethic in retail and the understanding of how small businesses run: the concept of entrepreneurship.

Co-owning a produce isn’t the only thing McCoy does to serve the community. She’s the executive director of Neighbors For Better Neighborhoods, which helps with community organizing and helping residents improve their community.

To keep a small business running business people need support from the community. To support The Village Produce, drop by 4219 N. Liberty St. Visitors will be welcomed at the door. 

Lajoya Carter worked at The Chronicle as part of the Winston-Salem Urban League’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

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