On Friday, July 27th, over 200 community members attended the Enterprise Summer Internship Graduation to celebrate the accomplishments of interns who had completed our program. All of the moving pieces of the summer internships?the supervisors, mentors, families, Enterprise staff and Board members?came together to watch presentations from each youth as they shared lessons learned and memorable moments from their internships.
The summer of 2018 blew past, with lots of growth and some brilliant moments. I am always excited about what the youth will get up to in their internships and continually am blown away by the remarkable contributions they make to their work sites. Jeffrey L. at the Stuart Foundation had the honor of allotting two grants to youth organizations in the city. Samantha L. at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission got to approve a proposal for an environmental development project. Mandy L. at Kaiser Permanente observed both a C-section and a hysterectomy. What other high school students can claim to have accomplished such feats?!
I have learned from the interns? patience, determination, and good humor in the face of challenges. It takes a lot to go into a new workspace full of professional adults and find your place. In their presentations, many of the interns emphasized that connecting with co-workers and supervisors can make all the difference. When social communication blossoms, professional communication will follow. As the interns grew connected to a network of supportive adults who were invested in each youth?s success, they felt more compelled to use their voices to ask questions or get the next steps. As the Enterprise interns exit their summer experiences and prepare for their first year of college or their final years of high school, I hope they remember how powerful their voices are as they gain knowledge about themselves and the places they want to go. Daniel, who interned at Google Food, said that he not only had to learn to ask questions, but he literally had to raise his voice to be heard in the noisy space. He learned that his thoughts and questions were worth being heard even when you have to yell them. I am grateful to everyone who made space for the interns? voices to grow.
Thank you to the volunteers?the mentors and the supervisors?for taking the time to share your lived experience and your insight. Thank you to the point people at Enterprise who facilitated workshops and communicated with the interns. Thank you to the sponsors and the donors who contribute funds to make these opportunities possible. And finally, thank you to each individual youth, who fully engaged in this experience and sought every opportunity to learn from your workspaces and your co-workers, in order to expand your understanding of the working world.
?Meghan Smith, Youth Development Director