The high price of teen work: Teens pitch in to boost family income during tough times

Jun. 1, 2013 / By



A typical school night for most teens may be made up of sports practice, dinner, homework and maybe a study session. But school nights don’t look like this for 16-year-old Theodore Roosevelt High School student Guadalupe Castro. Ever since he was ten, he’s had a job cleaning floors and scrubbing toilets as a janitor working night shifts.

After a long day at school, tennis and marching band practice, Castro gets home at about 6 p.m. He helps out by cooking dinner for the whole family before they all rush off to that night’s scheduled cleaning, which runs until 9:30 p.m. If he’s lucky, he’ll finish his homework on the car ride home. If not, a long night awaits him until he does.

Many teens in Boyle Heights feel it’s their responsibility to help their families make ends meet although it may affect their academics.

Castro works three times a week helping his parents clean stores and other venues. His parents picked up this family side job after his father’s work hours as a tailor were cut and his wages dropped to $200 a week.

Although Castro doesn’t ask to get paid for his hours worked, his parents give him $25 for working Sundays. That’s enough to pay his cell phone bill. His parents make a combined total of $1,000 a week for the family of four.

Not thinking twice about it, Castro says he doesn’t mind being a working student because he knows his parents need his help. “I saw that they were struggling, so I just started helping them.”

Read more at Boyle Heights Beat

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