Tales from the Trenches

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A former Internship Connection Intern, now an Associate Producer at CBS News

I was thrilled to catch up with our former student Katharine to learn that she is now an Associate Producer to Bianna Golodryga at CBS News in NYC!

We placed her on her first internship as a student at Phillips Exeter.  Katharine graduated from Middlebury, began at CBS in NY as a News Associate and became the Executive Assistant to the President of CBS News before her current position.

She recently wrote, “Carole, it’s great to hear from you! Thanks for reaching out. I think about that internship so fondly and you were such a help. I hope you’re well!   -Katharine

                                                           Here is Katharine’s Story

Katharine, from Lincoln, MA was a sophomore at Phillips Exeter. We matched Katharine’s interests in broadcast journalism to a wonderful female mentor, the Executive Director of a Cable Television station. Tamarah spoke highly of her intern, “Katharine has been extremely helpful to our station. She has edited news segments that we’ve put on the air, worked on studio shoots, and is producing a 30 minute documentary on the prevalence of eating disorders.”

Katharine spoke about her internship in a community newspaper article,

“I was able to try everything from learning how to use the cameras, to editing to running the teleprompter during a live show. The great thing about working at a small station is you get so much hands-on experience.”

 

How a High School Internship in Government led to a position at the Boston City Council

During her junior at Newton South High School, Michelle excitedly told us about a week long school trip to Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Close up Foundation. She became very enthused about the American political system. After our meeting with Michelle, we matched her to a Senator’s office at the MA State House.

“I see apathy among my generation and realized that I’d like to become involved. Working for the Senator is fascinating. I’m attending hearings and seminars as well as researching issues and legislation. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.”

Her Mentor, legislative aide Cat Anderson wrote: ” Michelle is a self-starter and quickly learned to plow right in. She reported about information gleaned from attending hearings, drafted letters to constituents, and helped with data entry and research. She was a wonderful presence in the office.”

After her undergrad studies Michelle went on to law school. We recently caught up with her on LinkedIn and congratulated her on her appointment as the Director of Legislative Budget Analysis at the Boston City Council. 

 

Michelle wrote,

“Thank you! I had such a great experience with that internship, and it’s been interesting how over the years I’ve continually been pulled back to legislative work – and able to use that internship as experience! Hope all is well!”

Building Your College Application Story With An Internship

When we meet with high school sophomores and juniors, applying to college is often at the forefront of their minds as well as the angst of their parents. While their previous experiences may seem a bit disjointed to them, we are able to help them find the unique “thread of interest” that runs through their high school years.

The idea for us, is to establish an internship that directly relates to their academic interests. On their college applications, students are able to show that they are pursuing their passions and talents, not only within the school day, but also in a much deeper way. This becomes their story on their applications and college interviews.

Setting yourself apart from other students

Taking this idea one step further, the following is an example of one student’s college essay about nanotechnology. Not only does he write about his interest in this particular field of science, he is able to talk about the in-depth experience he had through the internship we established for him in high school.

Ben followed our suggestions about “Telling his Story” in a creative way.

As a side note, he was accepted to both Cornell and Columbia for engineering. Today, years later, he is the founder of a company related to technology.

Many Colleges require a personal essay plus an Academic Interest Essay. The following is Ben’s Cornell essay relating to his internship:

-Describe your intellectual interests, their evolution, and what makes them exciting to you.

A Path to Discovery

After slipping into a white coat, I insert my hands into tight latex gloves, carefully covering my hair with a cap made of thin, crinkly paper. I slide open the heavy rubber curtains, stepping into the clean room, enveloped by dust-collecting Styrofoam and silence. Facing me are two computers and a state of the art, half million-dollar Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), powerful enough to see anything a few billionths of a meter in size. For the next six hours, I will work alone in this room, etching off misaligned carbon nanotubes through wafer-scale electron beam lithography using SEM to define high-resolution features on test chips.

Why am I doing this on a beautiful summer day? Imagine computers that boot up instantaneously, cell phones with enough memory to run full-motion video and music clips for days. Or picture a trillion bits of data stored on a chip the size of a postage stamp. These are some of the potentially radical implications of technology being developed at Nantero, the place of my summer internship. I hope in this generation to contribute to the development of these exciting new discoveries in the interrelated fields of engineering, nanoscience and biology.

-Consider the academic programs in the school/college you indicated on page one. How will you utilize them to further explore your intended major or field of interest (or general academic interests if you’re undecided)?

Cornell’s reputation for interdisciplinary research and advanced approaches in nanotechnology are very exciting to me. The Duffield Hall facility and collaborative partnerships within programs is exactly the type of academic setting that is so appealing to me. The Center for Nanoscale systems and ongoing research in carbon-based nanoelectronics and silicon nanoelectronics is are of particular interest and relate to my separate summer internships working with printed circuit boards as well as carbon nanotubes. Also, the opportunity for undergraduate research at Cornell is very important to me.

I am seeking a broad-based and well-rounded education and Cornell’s strengths in Liberal Arts combined with excellence in science and engineering would provide the perfect match for my academic interests.

7 Summer Internships for High School Students in Boston

1. David Zhao from Acton Boxborough High
Tell me about your experiences.
The workplace feels more like the set of “The Social Network” than an actual workplace; FanPier’s harbor location and the informal work environment are truly invigorating and inspiring. The work was involving, but all I needed to recuperate was the view out the 14th floor-windows, where I could see all of Boston sprawling beyond the harbor. In terms of the internship, my mentor Jason started me off with a research project for potential business partners (preferably start-ups) and I compiled an Excel spreadsheet with data for each partner. That project took the entire day, though Jason took me out to lunch with a fellow MIT-Sloan peer. We discussed my college plans, the application process, and potential majors.
Jason truly embraces the role of mentorship–he’s been recommending books, checking in constantly, and teaching me various business essentials (e.g. LinkedIn, database-use, etc.) Jason’s also been asking me for ideas. All in all, the first-day experience was really eye-opening and exciting. I really think that I’ll enjoy this internship and learn a great deal about business, particularly if I want to pursue entrepreneurial business myself.
2. Daniel Alpert from Needham High.
What has been the best part of your internship?
I am learning about business, especially how to run a start-up company. Also, there is a ping pong table there.
Describe a situation in which you took a risk by putting yourself in a new position, such as meeting new people, asking questions, making suggestions.
I’m the only high school kid with a lot of college students. I didn’t know anyone and they all knew each other so I had to put myself out there to make friends. Over time, I felt less intimidated and now I go out to lunch with them.
3. Ally Reiner Wellesley, MA.  Lehigh University College of Business and Economics.
It’s been going great at the fashion company. I have a lot of responsibility and have been learning a lot. I’ve been able to help out with a lot of the marketing ideas and events in addition to some PR responsibilities.  
4. From the Mentor of Max Lasser from the Dexter School in Brookline, MA.
Max is doing great! He attended the EACC meeting last week where he got to see how companies are awarded state tax incentives based on their job creation commitments. The meeting was open to the public; he saw various company executives, local, and state politicians. It was a good experience for him. He is very well mannered and always eager to help. We are glad to have him for the summer. Aiden
5. Emma Witherington from Deerfield Academy.
I’m really enjoying myself at the non-profit. Janel, Blake, and Kay have all been welcoming and helpful guides. That said, they still treat me as a mature adult and expect me to be able to handle important projects.  Because it is just these three women who work in the office, I have great opportunities to partake in hands-on work relevant to the organization. I am taken seriously, and feel I like I am genuinely helping them during their busiest season by providing a fresh and thorough hand on time-consuming projects.
List the kinds of things that you’ve been doing at work.
I’ve been three days so far. The first day was largely about understanding the organization, so I went over a binder of materials that Blake had prepared for me. After this introduction to the business, I completed my first task of choosing photos from recent events in Tampa and Dallas and uploading them, now displayed on the company’s Facebook page. Since then, I’ve been given a larger assignment in which I research other organizations (some for charity, others not) and put information like event size, fundraising means, and sponsorship into an organized spreadsheet.
6. Kevin Zhu from Newton South High School.
The internship at the State House has been quite relaxing and interesting. They said that the real fun begins in July, because that is when all the bills and policies really start to take motion into being passed, so next month will be quite hectic in the State House.  What I have been doing for my first week is participating in the Speaker series that they have at the statehouse, as well as creating a e-mail list for my representative when there isn’t a speaker at that time.
7. Griffin Green from The Rivers School, Weston, MA.
List the things you are doing relating to your interest in robotics and engineering: 
1.     I created a pallet of potential stained glass samples for use in their tesserae software
2.     I worked in Solid Works (CAD software) designing 3d models for a potential tool to cut the glass
3.     Started to make a design and cut glass tile by hand (soon to be replaced with a more efficient method)
I have been very excited about my internship. I feel that the work is very important to the company. I have had the opportunity to work extensively with Ted as he helps to guide me in the right direction and with Paul and Blake. Each of them has shown me a different aspect of the company. When I work with Paul, I focus on the design process, which eventually leads to the creation of the product. On the other hand, Blake allows me to explore the business aspects of the company. On top of all of this, the work environment is very relaxed and makes me feel right at home.

Startup Case Study: A Boston Internship for Camila and Claudia from Puerto Rico

 

The Introduction

It was so interesting to Skype with Camila and Claudia Gonzalez and their parents. The family had been referred to the Internship Connection Program for Entrepreneurship by Babson College. The girls are twin sisters, coming from a private school in Guaynabo, P.R., who had been accepted to Babson as January freshman. “J-frosh” is the term that students often use.

Starting college during spring semester is quite common at many universities across the U.S. The reason behind this is that colleges would like to accept many more qualified students, but cannot accommodate them because of insufficient housing. Additional dorm rooms become available when juniors go abroad during their spring semester.

I have often worked with January freshman, establishing Boston internships for them for the fall semester. Not only can they enjoy an internship matched to their intended academic majors, but they are able to get a jump start on their peers, becoming familiar with the city, it’s transportation system, restaurants and cultural highlights.

The process begins: Housing

Once I knew that the girls wanted to live and work together, I starting researching housing for them that would be comfortable and close to transportation.  Additionally, I wanted to find a mentor who would take a true personal interest in the girls. Coming to the U.S. to a new city at age 17, is not something to take lightly. As director of this program, I feel deeply that my role is not only to provide the best educational experience but to be protective of our students as well.

Placing students in our program is much more complicated than many people realize. I must consider their career interests, their safety, their mode of transportation, their schedules, etc. For the girls and their parents, I emailed photos from several types of housing options. They chose an upscale, short-term stay hotel in Copley Square. It would be just a quick subway ride for them to the Boston Waterfront where over 150 start-up companies would likely be the most interesting and exciting internship sites for the girls.

Choosing the best company and mentor

During my research and drawing from our program’s large network of business connections, I focused on the girls’ interest in both entrepreneurship and fashion. In the past, I’ve placed many students at MassChallenge, an annual global accelerator program and startup competition that provides free office space for finalists and organizes training and networking events. It’s a competetion that awards 1 million dollars to finalist companies selected from 1,250 applications world-wide.

One company at the MassChallenge business incubator really stood out to me. Melanie Berger is the founder and CEO of Mariwear, a new and innovative concept in women’s loungewear. She is a dynamic businesswoman who is also a mom. In our conversations, I learned that she had lived abroad and grasped how important her role would be as mentor for Camilla and Claudia. While discussing the kinds of tasks that she would have for them in her fashion start-up, I could see that they would be involved in every level of her business. We were both excited for the girls’ arrival.

The internship proceeds

 

As the fall progressed, Camilla and Claudia sent me journals detailing their experiences and expressed how thrilled they were with their mentor and their fashion internships. As a former professor of education, I know how crucial it is for students to take a step back to reflect upon their experiences. Therefore, the students are asked to send me several journals that I have designed, with questions that are meant to encourage reflection.

 

An excerpt from Camilla’s journal

 

What has been the best part of your internship?

The best part of the internship has been working with Melanie. She has been a great mentor and example because not only has she helped me grow as a future entrepreneur, but also she has helped me understand the importance of fighting for your goals even though there will be a lot of ups and downs.

She has really made us feel part of not only Mariwear, but also the MassChallenge community by introducing us to the other companies that we were interested in, or in some way, contribute to our future. I feel that every moment in MassChallenge has been a positive, since I am constantly meeting new people, making suggestions, asking questions, and learning something new.

A note from the CEO Melanie

It’s been such a pleasure for me to get to know Camilla and Claudia and Melanie, their mentor, feels the same way. She recently wrote:

Hi Carole,

Hope all is well.  I have to say, I am seriously sad that the girls are gone.

It was beyond an amazing experience for all of us.  They were wonderful on so many levels.  I can’t imagine having anyone else who can fill their shoes.

Melanie Berger

Founder

We wish Camilla and Claudia all the best as they start their freshman semester this January at Babson College!

9 Shark Tank Start Up Lessons You Might Learn This Summer

 

Have you ever wondered how the aspiring entrepreneurs on Shark Tank develop business pitches to investors?

Would you like to catch a glimpse of how guys like Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook? 

There are over 450 companies in Kendall Square, Cambridge, over 1,00 startups in the Boston Innovation District on the Boston waterfront and over 900 in Boston’s Downtown Crossing. You too, can get involved in this exciting way of life.

Some of our most fascinating Boston internships for the last 8 years have been at some of these companies. Here are some of the things you might learn:

–         What does it take to come up with a business idea?

–         What goes into an effective pitch?

–         Who funds startup companies?

–         Which are some of the most successful startups in Boston?

–         Where are some of the hundreds of networking events (called meetups by techies) in Boston and Cambridge?

–         What is a co-working space?

–         What are the more well-known business incubators in Boston?

–         What does each day look like at a startup?

–         What are some of the roles individuals play at these companies?

Whether you are a high school or college student, our business mentors will give you a rarified glimpse into this exceptional community of entrepreneurs:

 

Spring Break in Cancun vs. Interviewing for your Summer Internship

A no-brainer you say? Well let’s see college students. Maybe you can do both. It takes quite a bit of planning, but here’s how our current students are making it happen. We started taking calls and emails beginning in November, getting to know all of you from Emory, Vanderbilt, Boston University and even Seoul, South Korea.

You sent us your resumes- some great, some not so great. We started from scratch for some of you and polished them up for others. Next we sent them out to our contacts for summer internships in Boston, New York City, Austin and set up interviews for you in March. It’s amazing to me the far flung places you go for Spring break, but at least for those of you who were nice enough to squeeze in a few days to come back home to visit your parents (or high school buddies), you’ll know that you’ve got a jump start on your internship search.

Don’t forget to pack that suntan lotion!

5 Simple Steps To Ask For A Letter Of Recommendation

Perhaps you’ve completed a summer internship and are easing back into the school year. You’re suddenly struck with the realization that you haven’t yet asked for a letter of recommendation from the organization you interned with.  A letter is key—you’ll need it for college or job applications. It’s crucial “proof” of your experience reinforcing your resume.

It’s not too late to solicit that letter of recommendation. Follow these five easy steps to gracefully and effectively land a well-crafted one.

How to Get a Letter of Recommendation:

(1) Acknowledge how busy your supervisor is. The last image you want to project is one of self-absorbed entitlement; this person is taking time out of his or her busy day to do you an important favor, so acknowledge that generosity. At the same time, somebody taking on interns is obligated to provide letters of recommendation, so don’t be bashful about your request.

In short, be assertive—but not presumptuous.

(2) Offer options. Make it easy for the person to get the letter into your hands. If you’re still interning, ask for it well in advance so you can carry it home on your last day—about as easy for all involved as can be. Include your mailing address in your request no matter what to be safe.

(3) Ensure the letter of recommendation looks legitimate: Request that your supervisor print it on company letterhead. Also, ask that the letter be addressed “To Whom It May Concern:” so that it’s applicable in whatever situation you need it—applying for schools, jobs, or internships.

(4) Make sure academic interests are emphasized. You don’t want to suggest you were simply running around making copies as an intern, but instead forging practical workplace and problem-solving skills. Ask your supervisor to highlight the relevance of your internship duties to academic interests.

(5) Ask for a story. Encourage your supervisor to incorporate anecdotes that demonstrate your personality and abilities. This is partly to make the letter enjoyable to read; it’s also about humanizing yourself. Your letter should demonstrate you’re a real person with unique attributes—someone really worth hiring or accepting into a program.

Follow these straightforward tips, and you can feel more confident that a genuine, encouraging letter of recommendation is in the hands of people you’re trying to impress.

Photo credit: losmininos

Boston Globe Interview about Summer Internships for High School Students

                       Pricey summer programs raise fairness questions

 College officials say no, but critics wonder whether specialized experiences give some wealthy     students a leg up       By Lisa Kocian Globe Staff 

                                             “Explore.” “Sail.” “Volunteer.” “Dream.”

 

These were just a few of the enticing verbs that called to Newton South High School students during a recent expo of summer programs. For a fee, students can travel to such places as Ireland, Nepal, or Senegal. And they can immerse themselves in a foreign language, dive into community service, or explore their adventurous side by surfing or rock climbing.

Such programs have multiplied in recent years, giving students who can afford them amazing new opportunities – and perhaps additional pressures during what could be a season for lazy days at the beach and minimum-wage jobs.

But, as the college-admissions process becomes ever more competitive, another question about such programs emerges. Alongside high-priced application coaches and test-prep services, does a summer experience that costs anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000 represent yet another way that wealthier students can gain an edge over their lower-income peers?

“If colleges consider the sorts of summer experiences that only some people can afford to pay for, then they are effectively privileging the already privileged,” said Richard Kahlenberg, senior fellow with the Century Foundation, a nonprofit research institution headquartered in New York City.

Kahlenberg authored a 2004 study that found at the 146 most selective colleges, 3 percent of students came from the poorest quarter of the population, while 74 percent came from the richest quarter. He said it’s not that admissions officers are biased against low-income students, but that they are not really giving a leg up to students who work full time over the summer to help their family.

College admissions officers say they certainly have to weigh an applicant’s internships or farflung adventures. But a student can have an extraordinary experience in variety of ways, not all of which cost money, they note.

Bill Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard University, said high-priced internships can be “wonderful experiences,” but “in and of themselves, they will not give a student an advantage in the admissions process because the playing field is not level. The substantial majority of high school students cannot afford to do these things.

“I think there are many people now who understand there are plenty of activities, for example, working a full-time job in the summer or volunteer activities, that don’t have to be in Tanzania – they can be right down the street.”

During last month’s Teen Summer Program Expo at Newton South, 60 companies were offering summertime experiences, compared with 27 companies three years ago, according to Abby Shapiro, president and owner of CampSource, which organized the annual event. Over that time, the number of countries and community-service programs represented has also jumped dramatically, she said, and many programs offer financial aid. One of the newer trends is companies finding unpaid internships for a fee.

Two summers ago, Newton resident Amanda Korff obtained a month long position through the Internship Connection, a Newton-based company that charges $2,000 to place high school students.

Korff, who went to the Rivers School in Weston and is now a 19-year-old freshman at New York University, knew she wanted to major in communications, so she was placed with NewTV, Newton’s public-access television station.

She said she primarily wanted to see whether she liked broadcasting, but, yes, she said, it also was nice to get a good letter of recommendation for her college applications.

“The internship was really great. I was worried I wasn’t going to get a lot of hands-on experience.” But since the station’s operation is so small, Korff said, “I was actually able to work a lot.”

And that’s the point, according to Dr. Carole Jabbawy, founder and director of the Internship Connection, who has placed high school students in architecture, finance, and medical-research positions. “Nobody’s going to get coffee in my program,” she said. “I want to make sure it’s a real educational experience.”

Also, Jabbawy said, she is sensitive to the fact that not every family can afford such internships, so she adjusts her fee when necessary and gives out one free placement each year to a student who otherwise would not be able to afford it.

Robert Korff, Amanda’s father, said he didn’t feel as if the internship was necessarily for his daughter’s college applications, but was more to help her explore a field in which she was interested. And it was well worth it, he said.

“It’s hard to put a price on something like that when you’re talking about your kids.”

Jeffrey Herscott, an 18-year-old senior at Newton South, said he wasn’t thinking about college applications when he decided to do a language-immersion program in Spain last summer. He said he wanted to do it for himself.

He also was concerned about his contribution to the trip, which cost him and his parents $3,200, so he took a job busing tables at a Bertucci’s restaurant. Working helps build character, he said.

“That’s something I’ve always been keen on,” Herscott said.

Gil Villanueva, dean of admissions at Brandeis University in Waltham, said that travel abroad used to be impressive but is now “commonplace.” His school looks for students who – whether they travel or not – show a desire to contribute to society, he said.

He casts a careful eye on an application if a student has traveled across the globe but is not active in his or her community, Villanueva said.

“While I think that’s exciting in terms of what that person might add to the campus, it might not be nearly as much as the individual who committed hours and hours in working for their local chapter of Habitat for Humanity or worked on their Eagle Scout project to enhance a park.”

Villanueva said he encourages families to take advantage of free information on collegeboard.com and other websites to plan an internship or other experience.

There are groups working to close the gap between the haves and have-nots in college admissions. The American Council on Education created knowhow2go.org to help low-income students prepare for college.

Harvard tells students to follow their hearts and not to see every opportunity as a requirement, according to its admissions dean, Fitzsimmons, who co-wrote a paper titled, “Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation.”

Sometimes the most worthwhile summer experiences are not about exotic locales, but looking inside to find your own values, he said. “One of those experiences might be to catch one’s breath during the summer and recharge the batteries.”

Speaking to New York Parenting about Internships and Volunteering

Tips for Teens Seeking Last-Minute Jobs, Summer Activities

By Myrna Beth Haskell

Your teen is sprawled on the couch with a bag of chips and the TV channel set to MTV. Do you envision yourself being frustrated by your teen’s lack of activity all summer? Relaxation after a stressful and frenzied school year is probably much needed but, after a few days of rest, your teen should think about taking advantage of his free time and expanding his horizons.

Jobs are scarce these days, and many internship opportunities are filled in late winter. However, it’s not too late for your teen to plan a constructive summer.

Gaining experience, knowledge

When teenagers use their free time to expand their knowledge by volunteering, working or taking classes, college admissions officers and future employers take notice.

Carole Jabbawy, Ed.D., founder and director of Internship Connection in Newton, Mass., says, “An internship or volunteer experience is the first step to building a resume. Teens gain career exposure, which will be very helpful in sorting out a college major.”

Teens who plan to seek employment right after high school will also reap benefits from experience including:

* Building a resume

* Exploring interests

* Making “connections” in a specific industry

* Setting oneself apart from the crowd

Last-minute job opportunities

Teens should seek help from their school’s guidance office. Small businesses, hospitals, churches and nursing homes are always looking for extra help and usually welcome teen applicants. For last-minute opportunities, it’s best to canvas your neighborhood and ask about positions in person.

“While June may be too late for some internships, nonprofits are still quite busy in June and July, Jabbasy says. “Late spring is a busy time for fundraising events and extra hands are always welcome.”

Finding a paying job for the summer at this late date might be difficult; however, motivated teens can still find openings. Full-time employees often have summer vacation plans, so part-time positions become available.

“Business owners tell me that they don’t have enough time in the day to keep up with social networking,” Jabbawy explains. “They would love a teen to work on a project promoting their business through Facebook, blogging or Twitter.”

Summer college courses

Summer classes are great for teens who want to improve their academic resume. Jim Sirianni, assistant dean and director of Summer College at Stanford University, explains, “Very often universities will allow prospective students to enroll in summer courses right up until the first day of class. Students should check with multiple institutions in their area to see when summer classes begin, as some start weeks later than others. Large institutions tend to have a summer session office that oversees summer course offerings while the registrar’s office is a good starting point for inquiries at smaller colleges.”

Many colleges offer competitive scholars programs, academic camps or traditional classes that high school students can take in the summer. It’s imperative that students check to see if there is a minimum age, a required placement test, or documents their high school needs to submit before they apply.

Volunteering makes a difference

Volunteers are rarely turned away, especially in a down economy. Plus, teens can feel good about making a difference. “It’s wonderfully satisfying to volunteer for an organization that you care about,” Jabbawy says.

Teens should search for positions that will help guide them toward their long-term goals. For example, aspiring veterinarians could look for a position at an animal shelter. “An internship or volunteer experience begins the process of creating a professional network and can lead to a paid position in the future,” Jabbawy says.

Encourage your teen to ask questions and learn as much as she can while volunteering. Be sure your teen understands that showing up on time and being dependable is important even though she is not getting paid.

Places to look for volunteer opportunities:

* Hospitals and medical clinics

* Homeless shelters

* Libraries

* Animal shelters

* Youth centers/camps

Budding entrepreneurs

It’s never too late to start your own business. Possible entrepreneurial ventures include mowing lawns, painting houses, caring for pets while people are on vacation, fixing neighbors’ computers or cooking for the elderly. Teens can distribute fliers in convenient neighborhoods to get the word out.

Still stumped for ideas? Try these websites: www.dosomething.org and www.volunteermatch.org.

Myrna Beth Haskell is a feature writer and columnist specializing in parenting issues and child and adolescent development. She is the mother of two teenagers.

TIPS AND TALES FROM OTHER PARENTS

“Animal shelters need loving hands and warm laps.” – Melbra King, Shell Beach, Calif.

“Most churches run summer programs for kids. Our church has a vacation Bible school and we’re always looking for teen members to help, even if it’s last minute.” – Beth Ackerman, Staatsburg, N.Y.

Share your ideas on an upcoming topic

Your teen didn’t make the varsity team – alternatives to keep him or her playing?

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