Summer 2016’s teen internship program

Written August 29, 2016

Throughout the summer several students from the Skyway/Renton area were chosen to participate in a SYNC program that offered paid internships. During these internships students were given the chance to learn new skills that would prepare them for the adult world. A few weeks after they started three students were interviewed to hear what they had to say about their job site.

Prior to them starting their internships each intern felt uneasy feelings about their work site and coworkers. Faila said, “I was scared that I would do the wrong thing”. Ona went on to say that “I was a little nervous and felt like I was going to mess up”, but “In the end it turned out to be a wonderful experience”. Most of the fear and lack of confidence came from not knowing what to expect. Melody stated, “I thought it was going to be more organizing. I didn’t know what I was going to get experience for”. It seemed as though no matter how much information was given about the internship site there is always going to be a sense of the unknown. However, regardless of the uneasy feelings the girls showed others the importance of not letting the fear of the unknown keep you from stepping out your comfort zone and trying something new.

The interns found that some of the same challenges came up during their internship which eventually made the experience worthwhile. While working at the RAYS family center Melody stated “I had to deal with disrespectful people on the phone & some people didn’t say hi right away”. Faila also dealt with the same struggles and said, “I had troubles dealing with disrespectful people on the phone and talking to people in general”. The most common challenge for the interns seemed to be working with people that were different from them. Ona specified that her biggest challenge was “Working with others, keeping myself together professional wise and watching the way that I talked to people”. Although the interns faced challenges at their work site, they didn’t let that control their working experience. Instead of letting the challenges bring them down they used it as a learning experience and came out winning in the end.

While working with SYNC the interns found that regardless of having to face challenges you should keep testing the waters. Ona said “it teaches you to be responsible with not just money but people’s identity.” “it taught me communication skills, like using eye contact and knowing what body language to use”. “There should be more programs like this because these are wonderful opportunities. It’s also a good chance for kids to figure out what type of job they want when they get older”. Faila agreed with Ona and went on to explain how she “got used to answering the phone…speaking up and communicating with people to get to know them”. Having an internship can offer a great working experience for shy kids and kids struggling to make good decisions. Melody was “really pleased because [she felt] like everyone was welcoming and it’s good to help people in the community”. She also said SYNC should continue the program because “there are kids on the edge of society because of drugs, peer pressure and bullying, but this program keeps them occupied and out of trouble”. All in all, the youth were given a chance to do something positive yet challenging, which turned out to be the kind of experience they needed to grow.
-Abigail , SYNC Intern

h/t RAYS facebook page

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