Summer Internships Increase High School Students’ Confidence in their Futures

April 4th, 2017

Donta first came to Paul’s Place when he was in middle school and participated in our 4-week summer enrichment camp for middle school students. His mom needed a safe and educational place for Donta and his brother to go for the summer so she could work full-time. He has fond memories of our camp, especially the outing to North Bay Adventure Camp where he enjoyed camping and canoeing for the first time. After thriving in our summer camp, Donta enrolled in our after-school program.

When he reached high school, Donta got his first summer internship through Paul’s Place. In partnership with YouthWorks (the city’s summer youth jobs program), we are able to an offer eight-week paid summer program for our teens. Students gain on-the-job experience in five-week internships in fields of interest to them and spend three weeks exploring college campuses and the worksites of local employers, job shadowing, and participating in professional development workshops.

Last summer, Donta worked at Tasty Creations, a local bakery, helping make cakes, muffins and icing. He decided he doesn’t like baking that much…but he learned a lot about what it takes to run a small business. And he enjoyed the college and business field trips organized by Paul’s Place. So far, Donta has visited Goucher College, Bowie State, and Howard University and visited businesses including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Under Armour, and DLA Piper.

Now in 11th grade, Donta is looking forward to his third year in the internship program. This summer, he will intern at For Rent Shoes, where he will gain direct experience in sales and learn the ins-and-outs of running a retail business.

Even though high school graduation is still more than a year away, Donta has a plan. He wants to attend community college, get his associate degree and then move on to his bachelor’s. His summer internship experiences at Paul’s Place have given him the confidence to set big goals for his future and to believe that he can achieve his dreams.

Donta is one of 15 students from the Southwest Baltimore communities will gain these essential career-building and confidence-boosting experiences this summer at Paul’s Place. In addition, younger students will have fun, mind-expanding experiences outside their neighborhoods that reinforce reading and math skills during the long summer months.

These summer experiences are essential to stave off summer learning loss. Low-income families lack the resources to send their children to high quality summer programs that reinforce academic skills and support the whole child. Children from these families typically lose about two months of grade equivalency in math and reading over the summer months. Added up over the years, that lost summer learning potential can make or break a young person’s chances of graduating from high school or going to college.

Paul’s Place offers summer camps for elementary, middle, and high school students free of charge for 80 children and youth in the Southwest Baltimore communities. Help us give kids like Donta the chance to shine this summer. Your gift today is not just an investment in a young person’s summer; it’s an investment in his or her future.