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Interns learn leadership & service in home communities

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AUG. 30, 2010 – Across the state, rising high school seniors wrapped up their eight-week summer internships at local nonprofit organizations, as part of our annual Summer Youth Community Development Leadership Program.

The internships gave students experience in local nonprofit host organizations, and provided them with leadership training and life skills.

“Deciding to become an intern with the Initiative was the best decision of my life,” said Tamarea Parker of Durham, an intern with Durham Community Land Trustees. “I finally feel like I’m a part of something that’s meaningful, and I think it’s so beautiful that the Initiative took the time to create a program like this just to instill leadership principles in youth, like myself, who want to see a change in the world but aren’t sure how to go about making things happen.”

The interns were hosted at nonprofits in their local communities, and received stipends from the Initiative for the work they did during the summer. They were encouraged to save half of the money for expenses related to furthering their education beyond high school.

“This internship has absolutely taught me how to have a greater and deeper appreciation for everyone in the community, and just people in general. This was definitely a blessing in disguise and I would not trade it for anything in the world because it has taught me various lessons from time management, appreciation, respect and just having a caring heart,” said Devin Murphy of Fayetteville, an intern with the Center for Economic Empowerment and Development.
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During the program, the interns came together for four Leadership Academy sessions where they developed and practiced their leadership skills, learned about financial literacy, and shared their experiences from the field. They also had a chance to go on field trips to the General Assembly, the International Civil Rights Museum and the campuses of Bennett College and NC A&T State University.

“During this internship, I have learned that there are various ways to help my community, including hanging out with senior citizens, interpreting for non-English speakers in court, and assisting teachers in a local Head Start,” said Adrian Zamora of Yadkinville, an intern with Yadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. “I have gained knowledge in what being a servant leader truly is and how important it is in our neighborhood to lead with justice and humility.”

The program offered exposure to inspirational community and business leaders, chances to learn about nonprofits and community development as potential career options, and first-hand looks at the programs and services that are available to assist members of the interns’ own communities.
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“One of the goals of the Summer Youth Community Development Leadership Program is to spark an interest in community economic development among new generations of leaders,” said Shereé Ramirez, Chief Grants Officer. “We hope some of the interns will become future leaders within the nonprofit sector, but more than that, we hope that they will all learn something during the course of the program that will enable them to be the best possible leader that they can be in their chosen field.”

This was the third year for the internship program, and it grew significantly from its initial class of 14 students to this year’s class of 39.