Youth Summer Internships Build Real World Skills
Interns working at Sopo Bike Co-op Photo: IRC
It’s summertime at the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta, and that means internships for students from the Youth Futures Program. For four weeks this summer 25 refugee youth will participate in skill-developing internships with eleven different organizations in the Atlanta area.
According to Haimanot Haile, director of the program, the youth internships “were created to bridge the gap between academic learning and the ‘Real World.’” The interns will not merely be answering phones and filing paperwork, they will be delving into the work of their host organizations and developing real skills. Ms. Haile says, “What I like most about the program is that it comprises vocational and skill-building components from which interns gain valuable experience and exposure to different career choices and learn the great value of giving back to their community.”
Rudith Laine, one of IRC Atlanta’s Youth Counselors, adds, “[The youth] aren’t just learning new skills, they’re also earning community services hours for school, building their resumes, and developing a strong work ethic.” They’re having fun too. For example, interns at Oakhurst Gardens will plant and then learn about cooking the plants they grow. At Sagal Radio four youth will do interviews that will be broadcast on the air. Participants at Camp Nicolas will assist in the running of a summer camp for homeless children.
The challenge facing Ms. Haile and the IRC Atlanta Youth Programs staff will be keeping their interns focused on their work and developing their professionalism in spite of the other distractions of summer. With such interesting opportunities, however, they don’t expect too much difficulty.