March 17, 2022
I am a senior at Springbrook High School, and I moved to America from Cameroon when I was seven with my mother and sibling to join my dad. I had mixed emotions about moving to America. I wanted to stay with my dad, but I wasn’t prepared to leave everything and come to a new country. Eventually, I gave in to the idea of starting over. I chose to look at it in a positive light rather than a negative light. I began to be more open minded, and I’m glad I did because I started learning and doing things I never imagined I’d be able to do.
One of those things include being an Intern at Urban Alliance (UA). UA is an organization that provides high school students with paid internships, job skills training, mentoring, and professional development. These are just a few reasons why I want to encourage future rising seniors to join UA. According to the UA website, the nonprofit organization believes all young people should have access to equitable opportunities to encourage success in any career path. All of UA’s work upholds the principle that students always come first.
As a UA intern, I work with their communications team to help plan and arrange upcoming events, design and create new ideas, and organize content and information. I work with the UA team to create materials that will help recruit more rising seniors to our High School Internship Program (HSIP). The recruitment period is now underway and I have the opportunity to draft social media posts to get the word out. I also attend planning and strategy meetings where I get to hear from other UA staff teams. There are several types of current and future activities such as HSIP, 25th anniversary event, and the Leaders Like Me Series. I would be invited to participate in the conversations and share my perspective as a high school student, and talk about myself and what I do.
I often share my experience with my classmates and encourage them to consider applying for a paid internship. My internship coordinator at school told me about UA, and I immediately went to UA’s website and became impressed with the organization and its mission. Working at UA and progressing with the organization was something I could see myself doing. UA grabbed my attention because it focuses on students and their future. While reading through the website, it was clear that the students are the main focus. I watched the student stories on UA’s YouTube and quickly learned that the organization aims to provide real-world professional work experience for students like me. I get to earn a salary for my contributions as well. When I learned that I had been accepted to UA, I was excited. I was even more excited when I heard that several of my classmates and friends had also been accepted. The first week was fantastic; the UA team explained everything to us and answered all of my questions.
Once I was accepted to the program, the first month began with pre-work where UA program directors and coordinators trained and guided us through everything about what being a UA intern would entail and what to expect. After pre-work, we were all assigned to different job sites that matched our interests and prepared us for our future career path. At our job site, we were also assigned mentors. Each mentor works with each student throughout the entire internship period and will continue to do so after they graduate from high school. I work Monday through Thursday from 2 to 5 pm, and then on Fridays I attend the weekly workshops or check-ins to discuss the week and how our internship is going. I get paid for the time spent at the workshop, which is a bonus!
As you can tell, being a UA intern is an invaluable experience. I’ve learned a lot so far, and I am constantly learning something different every day. I came to UA looking for an opportunity to learn and improve, and I’ve gotten exactly that. I’m a hands-on person, so I didn’t want an internship where I just watch and take notes. I want to learn while having fun. I have two great mentors who check in on me every day before we start working to see how school is going and how I’m doing. They remind me that it’s okay to ask for help. They also provide a comfortable environment for me to talk to them about work or anything personal.
I am so glad that I applied for the UA High School Internship Program. I want to invite my fellow rising seniors to do the same. Trust me, it is the best thing you could ever do for yourself.