ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- If you've ever seen the TV show "The Apprentice" you know the tough challenges contestants face. And now the YMCA is bringing a similar challenge to Rockford. We spoke to one finalist who's trying to brighten Rockford's image.
"This is an opportunity for them to compete in a series of programs and contests for businesses locally," said Rock River Valley YMCA CEO Mike Brown.
It is also an opportunity for businesses to realize that Rockford's youth is capable of working hard to help the community. The Intern Challenge competition started with 14 contestants and is now down to three finalists; Dominick Bennett is one of them. But it took a lot of work to get there, eight weeks of making videos and ads to promote local businesses.
Bennett said, "It's been lots of hours every single week, tireless but mostly it's been relationship and excellent networks that have been built so while it's been trying, it's been hard, it's been absolutely worth it."
Dominick has less than two weeks to complete his final task, a video highlighting the good in Rockford. The idea is to bring more people to the Forest City. Bennett wants to use his video to show parks and restaurants and lot of people, to represent the heart of the community.
"I want to be the person that changes the image (of Rockford). The whole Be the Change initiative is about raising the bar for the youth in Rockford. They know now that we are just more than thugs and more than kids who want their own agenda to have fun and party. We are a group of young people who actually want to see this city flourish," said Bennett.
Bennett has the concept down, he's now looking for some help to bring the video to life. He is looking for volunteers to help with video equipment and more ideas.
The second half of Bennett's project includes making another video, this one for Anderson Japanese Gardens. His goal is to show that Anderson is a family place with a lot of resources and it’s not just for an elite group in Rockford. Bennett also gets points for selling tickets to Tuesday's Night in the Garden event at Anderson.
To support Bennett and buy $5 tickets to Tuesday's Night in the Garden at Anderson Gardens, you can stop by the PNC Bank building at 4215 E. State St. Suite 10 or you can purchase them at Anderson Gardens and say it’s on behalf of Dominick Bennett.
If you want to contact Bennett to help with his final video project you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The winner of The Intern Challenge will be chosen on August 17th and will get a $2,500 scholarship, a paid internship through the YMCA and that person will be the spokesperson for the Y in Rockford. The winner will also get to have lunch in Chicago with the original winner from the TV show The Apprentice.