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Santa Barbara Salvation Army Launches Internship Program For Kettle Ringers

Four interns are manning those iconic Salvation Army kettles in Santa Barbara this holiday season.

They are part of a new program called the Workplace Readiness Program aimed at getting them a permanent job.

Major Phil Smith is the Salvation Army Corp Officer Chief Administrator who came up with the idea.

“This year, I decided that instead of hiring people for a brief period and giving them some Christmas income,we wanted to use it as an opportunity to train them,” Smith said.

Penny Botha is one of the unpaid interns.

“It gives me better skills to be out in the workforce and be out in public again to learn how to work again,” Botha said.

Botha worked various jobs over the years, but she quit working to take care of her mom.

She eventually became homeless and moved into the Hospitality House shelter at the Salvation Army.

Botha is beefing up her resume with the internship.

“It gets me ready for a job by being on time and doing it for eight hours again. Interacting with people is wonderful. It makes me feel great about myself,” Botha said.

“My bell ringers that are in the intern program have gone through a workplace readiness workshop, prior where they learn skills; how to dress, how to show up on time, good time management, etiquette and how to act in the workplace,” Smith said.

The bell ringing and interaction with the public gives the interns the chance to reinforce what they learned in the workshop.

When, Botha’s internship is over, she will get a letter of recommendation from the Salvation Army to include on her resume.

“These experiences, the workshop, the internship are just going to make her that much more of an attractive applicant for long-term employment,” Smith said.

Botha hopes she will soon land her dream job working with people.

“In-home care. That’s my dream job. I love being with people and helping people who need me,” Botha said.

Smith said this is the first year for the program. Next year, he hopes to expand it and partner with local employers.

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