Jasmine Love was excited for her first professional experience with Urban Alliance. “I’m from the South Side of Chicago,” she said. “When you think of a job as an eighteen-year-old, you think of a fast food restaurant or working at a grocery store. A lot of opportunities working in a professional field are not offered, especially in the community that I live in.”
So when she was offered the chance to intern at Lakeside Alliance, she thought she would have to pretend to be someone else to fit in with her new coworkers, and wouldn’t be able to relate to people from different backgrounds. “It was very nerve-wracking because it was my first internship,” she said. “I was nervous because I was like, I don’t know how to do it, and I don’t know to how to be, and I don’t know to act, and I thought I had to change myself.”
Over time, she grew more confident and comfortable, and had the incredible opportunity to work with the team building the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center – a fact she even got to share with President Obama himself when she met him at an Urban Alliance event.
Urban Alliance helped Jasmine to recognize that not only did she belong in a professional environment just as she is, but that she could form close relationships with people she never expected. “It helped me to understand that everyone might not look like you or have the same background as you, but on a different personal level, we’re all connected in some personal kind of way,” she said. Urban Alliance “helped me to just understand that you can be that one person who shines out in the room full of other individuals … You should never have to feel that you have to mold yourself to fit the status quo.”
Jasmine came to see the incredible value she and her fellow interns bring to the workplace – and how their diverse experiences only enhances that value. “We have something different to offer to the table. It’s not just about coming from our different communities, but also all our different skills and assets that we also gain as individuals,” she said. “it’s important for employers to hire us because you never know what an Urban Alliance intern can offer you.”
Jasmine is now a freshman at Spelman College and grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow with Urban Alliance. “I would tell a future student just to take any opportunity that you possibly can that Urban Alliance gives you, because you never know what doors will open up for you in the future,” she said. “Urban Alliance helped me to know more about myself. I never really knew the things that I could possibly do.”