OPEN HAND NOTES
Newsletter Highlights 
GRAD Summer Internship Program 2016

The world of work can be unforgiving.  Employer expectations and stress levels are high.  Improper dress, lack of punctuality, poor communication skills, individualism, anger and other behaviors can quickly derail employment, income, and dreams. 

The GRAD program provides a safe and forgiving place for high school students to learn about the world of work and to gain the skills and confidence they need to be successful in the future.  In the GRAD summer internship program, students experience the following:

  • Internships with pay (120 hours over 7 weeks)

  • Workshops in job readiness, financial literacy, life skills, and character formation.

  • Community service to encourage civic responsibility

  • Field trips to encourage continuing education

  • Coaching from caring adults

This year, sixteen students from six

different high schools in Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Fredericksburg served in internships at fourteen different intern host sites. 

They worked as program assistants, marketing/social media assistants, wellness coaches, art and music instructors, daycare aides, and grant writers, and retail sales assistants. 

 

Each position was matched to give the intern work experience relevant to their dream career path.  For most interns, this experience was their first entry into the workplace.   For others, this year’s job built on a previous GRAD internship. 

In our end-of-program survey, 100% of the interns responded that they had learned important skills and felt better equipped for future employment.

In the words of intern Reyna Castillo, “The GRAD program changed me.  It made me realize that school is very important.  I feel like it helped me prepare for the real world.”

     

Teaching and Learning

from Our Interns

 

by Theresie Houghton

     

    I looked forward to coaching DeVaughn (Von) Carson as our GRAD program assistant intern.  Von wants a career in computers and mass communications, so some of his tasks were directly related to his career goals.  But, the internship also introduced him to program administration, office practices, and event planning.

    Von’s first day was a whirlwind—getting oriented to the office space, his team mates, and his workspace.  At the beginning, we worked together completing simple but necessary tasks.  We cleaned and organized the office, put together intern files, and discussed social media.  Von learned from me about the importance of good office organization; I learned from him about Instagram and how best to rapidly communicate with all the interns.  Soon, he was working more independently—creating thank-you notes, databases, posting on social media, and organizing data files of photographs. 

    My favorite time with Von was planning “Snow Day,” a day of building community with adults from the Rappahannock Adult Activities Center.  I started at the white board with a marker in hand and unpacked the questions.  What activities will be fun to help us get to know each other?  What will we eat?  How should we schedule activities?  Soon I handed Von the marker, and together we answered these questions and more.   The white board filled with a schedule, a list of things to buy, activities we needed to try out in advance. We spent the next day shopping, soliciting, and have a pre-party of our own.  When “Snow Day” arrived, the only thing left to do was relax and enjoy the activities with everyone else.     Before Von left for Virginia State University in early August, we celebrated the “win-win” of his internship.  He learned and so did we.          

GRAD intern Von Carson models a craft activity hat for "Snow Day" with Rappahannock Adult Activities.

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