For 2021 Kenwood Academy graduate Reina Huguley, becoming an Urban Alliance intern meant more time to concentrate on her schooling. “I was juggling a lot,” she said. “Urban Alliance and the Chicago Dance Makers forum was a blessing to me because…at first, I didn’t know what I was going to do or where I was going to go.”
During her senior year, Reina got up most mornings at 2:30am to make it to her job at Dunkin. Later in the morning, she’d attend virtual school where she earned straight A’s then log on to her virtual internship with the Chicago Dance Makers Forum through the Obama Foundation and Urban Alliance Youth Jobs Corps Program.
As Reina progressed, she chose to leave Dunkin to focus on her internship because of the opportunities for career development, financial security, and the chance to expand her network at Urban Alliance. “Urban Alliance and Chicago Makers Dance Forum was a blessing to me because I was still learning,” she said, “Urban Alliance has given me a lot of resources for post-secondary [education], for mental health, for learning about your money and just life.”
After working with young artists as part of her internship, Reina decided to pursue a degree in pediatric nursing at Jacksonville University, a goal she was once unsure of until collaborating with her Urban Alliance program coordinator, Anna Urban, to design her post high-school plan. “If you want to learn about your future,” she said, “these people can help you. I feel like this is a great opportunity.”