This summer I will be working as the Lead Summer Team Intern for the Summer Learning Academy at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan (HCWM). Right off the bat I know that my summer internship experience is going to be a little bit different than most. Unlike most interns, I am actually very familiar with the space I am working in this summer because I volunteered as a Summer Team Intern last year and I have actively visited and attended programming at HCWM since I was fourteen years old. So, instead of having first day full of nerves and worrying about names, I was ready to jump into my work immediately.
The HCWM has been a very helpful resource to me and my community since 1978 and they played a very big role in getting me to college. I have known many of my coworkers since my first visit to the center and they are truly amazing. I have even participated as a student in the specific program that I am running this year, which is the Summer Learning Academy (SLA). With the help of the Devos Foundation, our SLA is able to help 30 students participate in science and technology based activities throughout the summer as well as prevent summer learning loss. We have programming available for our students four days a week and we take them on field trips around the greater Grand Rapids area every Friday.
My role in this program has changed quite a bit this year. Last year I was responsible for making sure all of our student files were up to date, keeping in contact with our participants’ parents, managing classroom behavior, and assisting our SLA teacher in any way they may need. This year I am responsible for all of that as well as training an entire new summer staff, which is incredibly intimidating since I am only an upcoming junior in college. Since my internship last year the HCWM has gone through some organizational changes and because so much was happening within the organization, SLA was but on the back burner until I could come and assist our new supervisor. I am so honored to have this role and I can’t believe they have so much confidence in me. My first few days have been quite fast and pack full of information, so I can already tell that I will be facing many challenges this summer. Still, I cannot wait to help serve my community and provide the same help to others that I had once received myself.