Kailer Hayes, 32, has held many jobs. With the recent start of non-profit Kay’s Success House, it is through job training that Hayes is trying to fill the void for what she sees as a lack of help for young people in the Greenville section of Jersey City. .
The city’s youth summer jobs program recently announced that it is accepting applications and is expected to hire 500 residents between the ages of 16 and 24 in part-time positions. Hayes’ own initiative is similar, but she noted in an interview earlier this week that it won’t just be for the summer.
Currently based at The Spot JC, 15 Wilkinson Ave., Hayes’ organization presents its Vision Board event, Saturday, March 5, for ages 12-17, from 2:30-6:30 p.m.
Hayes said vision board events, in which people present collages of images to illustrate their goals, are typically geared toward adults. But everyone should have goals, she says.
“Including the kids, whether it’s the first grading period – maybe they didn’t make the honor roll because they got a C in math, so they should have a goal for the next scoring period, like “I’m going to get all the Aces.”
The visual onboarding also ties into what Hayes will do with her nonprofit’s programming, she said. In addition to partnering with different companies to help young people aged 16 and over find jobs, Hayes wants to encourage them through courses that stimulate a sense of entrepreneurship.
“I will teach technology classes, photography classes. The kids will learn how to make clothes, so I’m going to (have lessons on) clothing lines.
“If I have a 14-year-old daughter who comes to the program and she starts learning how to do her nails. And she continues to go to the program every year until she’s 16. When she’s 16, she may be able to work in nail salons Not that “Oh you have to work there”…. I think if you learn at a young age before you turn 16 it will be easy for you to find a job or even to adulthood.
Hayes saw so many people using skills or hobbies to earn money from their own homes in the fog of the pandemic, that it inspired her to create Kay’s Success House.
“I also worked in the school system, so I noticed that there are a lot of children who, when they come home, their mother does not teach them how to cook. Through my program, you can learn to cook, and if they get a taste for it, they can go to Hudson Community College which has one of the best culinary arts programs in the state of New Jersey, actually. I just feel that with my program, I want to make a difference and show the kids that there is more to do.
Hayes, who holds a master’s degree in criminal justice, said too many young people think the only option they have is to sell drugs.
She produced a 50-minute short film, “2 Faces, 1 Tear” based on one of four books she wrote, all inspired by life as she knows it in Jersey City. “I walked out of my house with people sleeping outside my door. I saw it all…so I’m doing everything in my power to give me a better life. And whatever it takes, it’s is a person to see the movie and be like, “Oh okay, I get what she’s doing here.”
“(‘2 Faces, 1 Tear’) is about two urban boys who are brothers and get caught up in the fast-paced life – which is the streets and dealing drugs,” Hayes said. “In the middle of that, they become friends with someone else, and while they think they’re really friends with that person, that person actually wants to kill them. They don’t know, because they’re basically sleepwalkers.
Hayes also made a documentary, “Respect the Game”, exploring from a central point in Jersey City, in the words of the description: “…(The way) the crime rate continues to rise at across the world in urban areas where poverty is at an all time high, people often settle for less than they are worth and get used to their surroundings, with no hope of things getting better. This then results in the engagement of risky behaviors (drugs, gang affiliation, promiscuity and others)…”
One goal everyone shares in Hayes’ documentary, she writes, is to get through the day alive.
For her short, Hayes said she basically owns it. “I wrote it, I filmed it, I directed it. All. I contacted everyone on my side. I didn’t have any kind of help. It’s something that I absolutely want to show young people – that if you want to do something, you can do it. No one can stop you. The only way to be stopped is if you don’t want to do it. That’s one of the reasons I always mention what I’ve done, because you can do a lot of things – you don’t have to do just one thing. Many people, many children believe that – that there is only one way out here.
If Hayes’ approach to Kay’s Success House resembles her approach to filmmaking, she’ll find a way to make progress. “I had a movie premiere (for ‘Two Faces, One Tear’) at the Magic Johnson Theater in Newark, so that was a great experience as well, so I went all the way,” she said. declared.
Hayes is just beginning to gather partnerships for Kay’s Success House, but companies interested in working with her can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.