This summer, new faces are not only roaming the halls of the Green Dot Public Schools home office, but also the halls of a few community partners, like architecture and design firm Perkins + Will, arc-Experiential Education, and education non-profit Iridecent. Our second annual cohort of interns, made up of Green Dot juniors from seven different schools, are spending their summer working to gain insight into career fields of interest and cultivate professional habits.
Our internship program aims to provide students with additional positive mentorship experiences, while presenting them with opportunities outside of the classroom to challenge expectations of their own abilities. We believe that students engaged in a rigorous internship program will be more motivated to apply to college, compete better in college admissions and job applications, and will acquire skills that prepare them for college and the workforce.
Doing the Work
To prepare students for success in college and ultimately pursuing a career, those interested in the internship program were required to submit an application and participated in interviews with intern managers. Upon acceptance, students were matched with different departments within the Green Dot home office, including Finance and Accounting, Community Engagement, College Persistence, and School Operations.
This year, we also worked with Perkins + Will, arc-Experiential Education, and Iridecent, to provide students with external internship opportunities.
“It’s hard work but it feels good, especially seeing how much all the departments care about their jobs and students they may never meet,” said Ahmani Cousins, Ánimo South Los Angeles Charter High School junior.
“I always figured it was just a job to them, but just being here, seeing how hard people work, and how even after 5:00 p.m. there are still people in the office working, shows me how much they care about us.”
Exposure to Real World Challenges
During the first week of the internship, students attend training sessions that lay the groundwork for professional habits, including email etiquette, project planning, and basic data analysis. At the same time, students launch into tasks specific to their departments and are assigned special projects. These projects allow students to take on a complex challenge, apply concepts from the classroom, and independently create a strategy and work plan to complete the challenge.
“One of my projects is researching and creating a database of summer enrichment opportunities, because sometimes students don’t have things to do during summer break,” said America Cortez, Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School junior.
“Now when I go back to school in the fall, I can say ‘this happened because of me,’ and that feels really satisfying, because the work I’m doing could impact all Green Dot students.”
Other projects include refining the strategy for Green Dot’s mentorship program, developing chronic absenteeism tool kits, and supporting textbook and school supplies procurement. Through these projects, interns are able to explore areas of interest and learn more about the different facets of education.
“As a student, you really don’t realize how much your school and the home office does in order to prepare for the school year.
Everything people at Green Dot do is all for the students, and it felt good to be a part of that,” said Marlene Acosta, Oscar De La Hoya Ánimo Charter High School junior.
“Something they say in the Operations Department is, ‘if you don’t notice it, then we’re doing a good job.’”
The Green Dot internship program is an opportunity for students to see high expectations modeled outside of the classroom, to build self confidence, and to realize their own potential. “I expected interning to be the way it is portrayed on TV, but it’s so much different. The people in the office are nice, they always communicate with each other, and make me feel included,” said Ja’Juan Barr, Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy junior.
“In their eyes, I’m not just a kid, I can make a difference, and I’m really a part of the team.”
As the internship program continues to grow each year, we look forward to providing our students with unique and valuable experiences that will serve their goals within the classroom and beyond.