Today was Audition Day at City Arts and Technology High School. Over the last month, I have been working with three of my peers -- TILT, A Simple Collective, and Cinemagical Media -- to coordinate auditions for engaging, quality internships at these four organizations.
Every Junior and Senior at CAT are required to do a Work Learning Experience for one semester. The goal of WLE is to provide real world, hands-on skill development. It's an opportunity for youth to build their resume in a field they hope to pursue.
Last Spring, Hilda Herrera was my intern as part of her Junior year WLE. During her internship, we chatted about ideas for making her Senior year WLE memorable and impactful. I pitched an idea of training youth in event production by throwing a talent show. She loved it.
Over the summer I met with the Vice Principal, Dr. Mike Dunson to pitch our idea and learn more about WLE. As I listened, I realized that there was even a greater need: engaging, quality internships in the creative fields. So I reached out to some peers to see how we, as employers, could respond to the schools needs.
What we came up with was a coordinated strategy to support approximately nine to eleven interns across four different employers, dubbed WLE+. Together, we would hold auditions for opportunities at each of our organizations. And over the next four months we would work as peers to ensure skills were being developed, our organizational needs were being met, and the schools goals were achieved.
So today was Audition Day for internship opportunities at 14 Black Poppies, TILT, A Simple Collective, and Cinemagical Media. And it was hugely successful.
One question we asked was, "Describe a challenging situation that has happened in your life and what you did to overcome it." Often, I hear canned responses to this question, inconsequential moments that are only so difficult. Today, though, there was not an inconsequential moment to be found. Youth responded with direct honesty and fearlessness about the challenges they face: death, domestic violence, going to therapy, high expectations of parent, parental separation.
I am humbled to bear witness to these testimonies, and even more so I am honored to get the opportunity to work with such incredible, honest, and resilient young people. It gives me hope for our communities and world.
If the auditions are any indicator, the next four months are going to be hectic, powerful, and transformative for both the youth interns and us as empowers. And I am grateful I have peers with which to share this journey. It makes the successes sweeter and the challenges, which will come, easier.
So stay tuned for updates from WLE+ here on this blog. I can't wait to share with you more stories of resilience, vision, and hope.