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By Jericka Duncan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Keeping kids out of trouble in the summer can be tough, but one local organization is determined to make sure young people are putting their free time to good use.

Now that school is out, thousands of young people in the city are looking for something to do. Some students are trading one classroom for another.

Eyewitness News was inside the Sovereign Building on Thursday morning as people ages 14 to 21 trained for their paid summer internships through Philadelphia’s Work Ready Program.

“They could be in a community service project, working at rec centers, small businesses, non-profits, or large companies across the region,” explained Stephanie Gambone, with the Philadelphia Youth Network. “We’re anticipating more than 7,500 young people that are going to work this summer.”

Gambone says that this year, they’ve exceeded expectations. In January, organizers projected fewer than 5,000 jobs would be available due to the economy and less funding. But through the Mayor’s 10,000 Summer Jobs Challenge campaign and the support of about 1,200 area businesses, people like Sherry Mak will start a six week paid internship program on Monday.

“I wanted to do this because I take any opportunity that comes my way,” said Mak. “I want to learn from other people. I want to network with other people. You never knew who you’ll meet.”

“Young people want to work,” said Gambone. “I think, unfortunately, there is a perception out there that that’s not true, and it is. Our waiting list numbers show that.”

There are at least 7,000 young people on that waiting list.

For more information on other free programs the Philadelphia Youth Network offers this summer, visit: www.pyninc.org

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