Annie is a sophomore at Lowell High School. She graduated from San Francisco Friends School in 2011 and will graduate from high school in 2015.
My CAP internship at SMART marks the first time in my life I was given actual responsibility. Although I mainly did tiny tasks this summer, I developed and perfected numerous personal skills. This summer, my main responsibility was acting as the teaching assistant for the art class at the SMART summer program for fifth and sixth graders. In this type of working environment, I knew skills like critical thinking would be useless and forced myself into exercising skills like patience and leadership.
My social and communication abilities have also significantly improved (of course, in my opinion). For example, in the beginning of the internship, I was very reluctant to help Ana Maria make phone calls. However, like the saying “practice makes perfect,” I slowly found myself more and more comfortable communicating with others—not with just peers, but also with adults. Working at SMART was definitely a meaningful learning experience for me.
I do not feel that I had made a significant contribution to SMART/CAP considering the amount of work SMART staff does. My work generally revolved around supporting and helping out the staff in their work, like creating folders and labels for Melanie and supporting Ana Maria in the art class. So, my contribution to SMART/CAP was an indirect one.
My advice for future interns is to work hard and be comfortable with learning and making mistakes. Also, I promise you that the first phone call you make will be awkward."
As I am only a student, I think that my contribution to SMART and CAP was limited. However, I was able to offer my insight on CAP's development. Since CAP is a new addition to SMART, the knowledge of students is crucial to creating a program that will maximize its benefits towards the students and their families. This was why I decided to create and form a Student Board at CAP. This Board is close to complete, and will be starting up this school year. Through this Board, students will be able to voice their opinions about CAP and propose any ideas or activities for SMART to host.
If there was one thing I took away about the operation of a non-profit organization, it is probably that the budget can be tight. Buying supplies or covering costs for student activities means that the budget has to always be referred to.
I want to thank the SMART staff for giving me the opportunity to work with them and taking the time to teach me new things."