— On their trip through Downtown DeLand’s businesses, the LOCAL L.E.G.E.N.D.S. stop at The Create Space to learn about owner Ginny-Beth Joiner’s business and try their hand at some crafts, too. Above, from left are Ahmani Jaggon, Rakaysha Hill, Gabby Miller, Rakayla Hill, Olivia King, Jaydin Griffith and Kyla Onfroy. Joiner walked the students through making a paint pouring, a painting where a cup of various layers of acrylic paint is poured onto a canvas and rotated to create abstract paintings.


Forty-six students from L OCAL L.E.G.E.N.D.S., a summer mentoring program, are spending their summer vacations working with small businesses and other organizations in DeLand.

Gaining workforce experience when you’re young is so important, because it gives teens the opportunity to learn valuable skills such as time management and communication skills.

“My experience with the LOCAL L.E.G.E.N.D.S. program has allowed me to grow,” 14-year-old Jaydin Griffith said. “This opportunity’s been amazing.”

Griffith spent the month of June working at the Landis Graham French, P.A., law firm in Downtown DeLand.

“Working in law has allowed me to meet new people and expand my overall knowledge,” Griffith said.

Volunteer students lent a hand at 25 businesses and institutions across DeLand like the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority, Kneading Sweets Bakery and The Create Space.

“I think the program is a great way for local kids to experience local businesses and how they operate, as well as getting an opportunity to receive knowledge about owning a business,” CarbonSilk Digital Marketing & Consulting owner Deanna Hinsz said.

While working at local businesses, the mentees develop skills to help them succeed in the workforce.

For example, 14-year-old Gabby Miller is a quiet kid. Her experience at The Create Space allowed her to better her communication skills and be more vocal.

LEARNING A LOT — Volunteers from the LOCAL L.E.G.E.N.D.S. program visit spa and wellness store Bodhi+Sol in Downtown DeLand to hear how owner Chelsea Conard got her business off the ground. From left are Jaydin Griffith, Olivia King, Rakaysha Hill, Rakayla Hill, Kyla Onfroy, Ahmani Jaggon and Gabby Miller. While LOCAL L.E.G.E.N.D.S. mentees are placed with specific businesses for one whole month, they get the opportunity to hear from many other business owners over the course of the program.

“My time with the local legend program working at The Create Space has granted me the opportunity to grow my communication skills that I’ve been practicing,” Miller said. “This will be a huge stepping stone to my journey of life as a whole.”

During the month of June, students like Miller and Griffith, ranging in age from 14 to 18, learned an array of life and employability skills ranging from customer service, stocking inventory, safety and entrepreneurship, just to name a few.

This program is so valuable because it not only allows these students to learn how businesses operate, but the employees are also being inspired by the students because they see how dedicated the mentees are.

“I think the LOCAL L.E.G.E.N.D.S. program is a great opportunity for these kids to step foot in the workforce, and gain knowledge on how businesses are run,” Joe Hearn said.

Hearn owns Joe Hearn Events, an event planning company that has been a part of LOCAL L.E.G.E.N.D.S. from the very beginning.

Our story

Seeing that we’ve been a part of the LOCAL L.E.G.E.N.D.S. program for three years, we can definitely say that it has benefited us so much.

It’s been amazing visiting these local businesses and seeing how determined the owners are to run them. We’d like to thank Dr. Primrose Cameron and Mr. Sean King for blessing us with the opportunity to step into the workforce, and get the full experience when it comes to working in a business.

For example, while working with Joe Hearn Events we got to experience how much time and dedication goes into event planning and catering.

There are many skills that you should obtain while being a part of the event planning business. The skill we needed to use most was communication, because you could potentially form good relationships with others, which can benefit you in the future.

— The Hill twins are working with The West Volusia Beacon as part of the LOCAL L.E.G.E.N.D.S. program. For the past several weeks, they’ve helped sort newspapers so they can get mailed to your house on time, found Beacon stories to run on social media and written this story. Expect to see more from Rakaysha and Rakayla Hill as they continue to work with The Beacon through July.


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