Nearly 100 Bay Area high school students got their first immersion into the world of work this summer through JFCS’ YouthFirst Summer Internship Program. The opportunity to participate in 20 hours of work per week, plus professional and personal development workshops, gave teens the confidence to begin to tackle bigger more complex life questions such as who am I? What are my values? And, how will I contribute in the world?
Career Exploration and Skills Development
As teens faced one of the toughest summer job markets on record, those accepted into YouthFirst’s competitive internship program came from 44 high schools and completed tasks as varied as organizing events, creating spreadsheets, engaging with seniors, and teaching kids about science, to name a few. In total, 58 businesses and nonprofit organizations took on the free assistance of an intern throughout San Francisco, the Peninsula and Marin County; and interns receive a stipend from JFCS at the end of their six-week placement.
For Josh Rieber his internship at Stampli was exactly what he wanted—to be absorbed into the Silicon Valley startup culture. The rising junior at Woodside High School worked for Stampli’s marketing department setting up meetings and researching potential customers. He says, “I really want to start my own business or entrepreneurial venture, so interning at Stampli totally motivated me to pursue that path. It was a great fit.”
Michella Kahanding spent her internship at JFCS supporting both the Spiritual Care Program and the Development office. The rising sophomore at Mercy High School says, “It wasn’t what I expected, it was WAY more amazing and enriching … I thought I’d just be doing administrative work.”
Professional & Life Skills Go Hand in Hand
Besides completing their hours on-the-job, interns got the additional task of participating in mandatory workshops that cover some of the professional and life skills necessary for success on the job, in school, in relationships, and in life. YouthFirst staff brought in expert guest speakers that covered a gambit of topics—from how to execute the perfect handshake, draft a winning resume, or how social media use can help, or harm, in future job prospects.
Each week, interns also came together to reflect on how Jewish values shape their interactions with each other and in the workplace, learning and practicing different aspects of what it means to be a “mensch.” As they explored their own identities, they were challenged to put their values into action.
Linda Karlin, Director of YouthFirst, says, “One of the things we are always talking about with our interns is how you show up in the world? We want them to understand that their actions matter, no matter how large or small, and that they can have an impact on their community.”
YouthFirst also partners with the San Francisco-based Achieve Program a citywide academic enrichment program for underserved students from low-income families. Linda says, “The (Achieve) teens are so gifted and enthusiastic—they make a huge contribution to the summer program. I’m really pleased we get the chance to create opportunities for them that they may not have had otherwise.”
As for the highlights of each intern’s summer, it is often not the tasks they perform, but the relationships that are created with co-workers and other teens in the program, or the learning experienced in the weekly workshops that will stay with them.
For Michella, the workshop on sustainable development was her favorite part. She got together with a team of her peers to explore and tackle tough world problems. “I really like to give back, and this helped me find actionable ways I can help locally that will make an impact globally.”
Josh’s highlight was getting the chance to interview the CEO of the company and says, “I asked him questions about how to start a business and his answers and advice were pure gold to me—it was an incredible opportunity.”
Linda Karlin adds, “Many teens come to us very shy and timid. It’s wonderful to see such great gains in confidence in just six weeks. It can be transformational.”
Thank You to the Many Businesses and Nonprofits Hosting 2017 Summer Interns!
Alek Klebaner, DDS, Dental Office; ACCESS Center at the San Francisco Superior Court; Aquantia Corporation; Brady Physical Therapy; Campanile College Admissions Counseling, Inc.; CB Engineers; Celsius and Beyond Science Summer Camp; Chris Colgin, Chiropractor; Clicktime; Compugen; Dcatalog; Duda Mobile; DuRard, McKenna & Borg; Ellen D. Krengel Law Office; Exploratorium: The Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception; Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle, LLC; Friends of the Israel Defense Forces; Field Architecture; Gan Israel Preschool; Glaucoma Center of San Francisco; I Made It! Glass Creations; Intellectual Property Law Group; Jewish Family and Children’s Services; Kletter Law Firm; Dr. Laurie Novinsky, DDS; L’Chaim Foods; Mann Consulting; Manyak Dental Group; Marin Community Clinic; Marin Independent Journal; Marin Theater Company; Marqeta; MT Development; Office of Marc Levine, California Assemblymember; OFJCC Preschool Summer Camp; Payoneer; Peninsula Pediatric Dentistry; Perceptimed; PicsArt; Red Bridge Law; Rhoda Goldman Plaza; RingCentral; Rouleau Orthodontics; Rukin Hyland Doria & Tindall LLP; San Francisco Bar Association Justice and Diversity Center; San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project; Serena & Lily; Shalom Bayit; Sift Dessert Bar; Simmer Soup Co.; Sixense Entertainment; Sourflour Bread and Native Baking; Stampli; Stanford University, Psychology Lab of Yael Enav, Ph.D; The Hive Marketing; TikGames; TrueMed Home Health; and Vaksman Khalfin Law Offices.
Thank You to the Donors Who Make the Summer Internship Possible!
Support for JFCS’ YouthFirst Internship Program is provided by generous individuals and foundations. Special gratitude to Sandra and Vladimir Shmunis, the Parasol Foundation, Fran and Bobby Lent/Levine-Lent Family Foundation, Bigglesworth Family Foundation, Judith Moss Endowment Fund, Sadie Meyer and Louis Cohn Foundation, Wells Fargo, the Bernice and Herbert Andron Scholarship Fund, and the Shupin Endowment Fund for Youth.