Jacksonville Nonprofit Summer Internships Help Build Young Lives
During her 2020 internship at Riverside Animal Hospital, aspiring vet Mynia Porter worked with regular clients of dogs and cats, as well as a bearded dragon and not-so-usual finger monkey.
During his 2019 internship at Action News Jax, aspiring director Freddie Burgos worked in commercial production learning how the TV and radio industry works.
And Fallon Hicks, who wants to be a family law attorney, spent her internship this summer at a local law firm reading cases and watching lawsuits.
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All three credited the paid summer internships and company seminars they attended for nine months to prepare them not only for work but for adulthood. And they profusely thanked the AnnieRuth Foundation of Jacksonville for the experience.
“I was able to make connections, gain experience and add something to my resume,” Porter said. “The… foundation has really done a great job of getting me started on my career path.”
Burgos said that applying for an internship position “was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
“They planted the necessary seeds… to make my own professional success flourish,” he said.
And Hicks said it “opened my eyes” to real life as a lawyer and the skills it will need to be one.
Providing young people with practical experience
Founded in 2012, the foundation is a non-profit organization that focuses on education, health initiatives and economic development in communities in underserved areas. Porter, Burgos and Hicks are among dozens of students from the region selected for the internship program which began in 2014.
The deadline to apply for the 2022 session is September 30. Monthly corporate seminars will run until May, and part-time six-week internships will begin in June and end in July, according to foundation founder Dee Wilcox.
The seminars focus on topics ranging from preparation for college entrance exams, money management, job interviews and customer service skills to self-confidence, awareness of mental health, dating and eating etiquette and building a personal brand, Wilcox said.
“The goal… is to equip students with personal, academic and workforce development skills,” she said.
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For internships, “participants are placed in a safe working environment that directly aligns with their career aspirations … where they can gain hands-on experience, a mentor, and a paycheck,” Wilcox said. “The community problem that the program is tackling is unemployment and underemployment.”
Once students have completed the program, they can update their resumes to make them more marketable “and much less likely to have to settle for low-paying jobs,” Wilcox said.
To advise students, she uses her own corporate experience as a leadership development consultant and human resources manager.
“I love nothing more than giving back to the community using my knowledge, gifts and talents to prepare young people for a prosperous future,” she said.
Given the opportunity to make it happen
Hicks, 17, whose internship was the most recent of the three, is a senior at the Paxon School for Advanced Studies. She plans to earn an associate’s degree from Florida State College in Jacksonville and transfer to a school where she can study family law.
She was “thrilled” to have been selected for the internship program, which she hopes to use “to gain experience in the field of my dreams”.
At Regina Wright’s law firm, she was allowed to read cases and “watch them unfold in court in real time. It was really exciting for me,” Hicks said. “I learned a lot about the way the court system handles cases and court etiquette.”
She said the internship had met its goals.
“I think it impacted my life in that I found better problem-solving skills and used them like you should be able to… for cases,” she said. . “It opened my eyes more for sure.”
Porter, 19, attended Riverside High School and is now in second year at the University of Florida working to become a veterinarian.
When in high school she was looking for an experience in animal care and the internship provided her with what she needed.
“It was my hope to learn more about the responsibilities and day-to-day tasks of running a private practice. Most of all I wanted to learn all I could about dealing with exotic animals,” she said. .
At the veterinary hospital, she “learned how to prepare and administer vaccines, how to make medicines, and how to control different animals safely. It was a lot more than I expected because I started to learn the moment I walked through the door, ”Porter said. .
“I expected to learn a lot, but this internship certainly exceeded anything I could have anticipated,” she said. “I was able to gain a lot of veterinary and animal experience. This internship really showed me how amazing veterinary medicine in the field is.”
Burgos, 20, a 2019 graduate of the Paxon School for Advanced Studies, is currently attending Florida State College in Jacksonville working towards an associate’s degree.
He said he was initially reluctant to continue with the foundation internship, believing it would be “just another ‘unnecessary extracurricular activity’ that wouldn’t go the way I wanted it to.”
But he did meet Wilcox anyway, and his reluctance wore off.
“I realized how… selfless and passionate she was as a person,” he said. “I recognized Ms. Dee’s personal ability to inspire children like me in the program to venture into their dream futures.”
The seminars provided insight, team building activities and “inspiring life nuggets,” he said. His internship at Action News Jax, but not on the set of his dreams, “served as a springboard,” he said.
“Initially, I thought I would intern for some of the big Hollywood production companies,” he said. “You can just dream of working for big film conglomerates like these. [Action News Jax owner] Cox Media Group. That … might pave the way for something much bigger down the line. “
[email protected], (904) 359-4109
ANNIE RUTH FOUNDATION SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
To apply, make a donation or obtain more information online, visit seedlings. today or contact the foundation at 10326 Interstate Center Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32218; PO Box 2726, Jacksonville, FL 32203; (904) 200-7202; or [email protected]