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      Columbia Urban League teaching youth through SWELP program

      COLUMBIA (WACH)-While many of the Columbia youth are enjoying their summer time off from school, some have taken advantage of the summer work experience leadership program.

      The program is offered through the Urban League, which helps teenagers from the ages of 14 to 18 develop leadership skills while building character.

      "I like the friendly environment", said Breanna Bethea, a student intern for the Urban League. "The hours are nice and of course the paychecks are nice."

      Bethea signed up for the SWELP program through her mom. She is a 2013 high school graduate who will soon venture off to the North Carolina area to obtain her degree in International Business.

      Thus far, the experience has helped her understand the reality when it comes to the real world.

      Bethea says SWELP has made her wake up and realize this is what people do.

      "You have to get up in the morning and go to work to make a living," said Bethea.

      SWELP teaches job survival skills such as setting goals, conflict management, and effective verbal and non-verbal communication.

      For more than 15 years, SWELP has provided employment opportunities to teens.

      To learn more about the Urban League, log onto