Internship Opportunities are Game-Changers for Underserved Students

“I really appreciate the support received from Generation School Network™ and the donors who made it possible for me to spend my summer doing something positive.” - Niko Jemmison, BGS Alumni, Class of 2013

When Niko Jemmison, a recent graduate of Brooklyn Generation School (BGS), was asked about his experience with the expanded College and Career Readiness Program offered through Generation Schools Network™ (GSN), he responded enthusiastically. “I really appreciate the support received from Generation Schools Network™ and the donors who made it possible for me to spend my summer doing something positive,” he said. Niko, now a freshman at Daeman College in Buffalo, was able to participate in an internship with GSN because of the success of last year’s donation campaign.

“I learned so much during my internship that is helping me now in college,” Niko explained. These lessons include time management skills, how to prioritize assignments, and professional etiquette. Niko laughed recalling the time a staff member sent him a text saying, “Stop texting at work or go home.” Niko was one of two interns who worked in the GSN office. His responsibilities included coordinating the BGS alumni program, conducting research, and compiling student data. His favorite project was placing thank-you calls to donors. “I really enjoyed calling and thanking the people who helped make our internships possible. Without their support, I wouldn’t have been able to learn as much as I did, and save money for school books and necessities.”

Creating opportunities for underserved students is critical. Internships allow students to explore occupations and educational pathways outside of what they see in their immediate communities. Internships foster mentorship opportunities, build self-esteem, and allow students to work with diverse populations. “I would really recommend internships for all high school juniors and seniors,” Niko said. He explained that his first semester of college, while challenging, was easier to handle because of the useful skills he learned as an intern. “I felt like I had a leg up,” he said. “I saw other students from similar backgrounds failing out because they didn’t have opportunities to learn how to function outside of what they knew from their neighborhoods. Without the support I received for the internship, I might have been one of those forced to leave after one semester.”

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