Nikki from Chestnut Hill, MA has always been passionate about helping others. During the summer after her sophomore year at the Rivers School, we matched her to an organization that fostered her leadership skills.
In her journal she wrote,
” I just went to the “Jug” squad, which means, “Jump up and Go”. It’s a group of inner-city kids my age who are training to be peer leaders relating to health issues in their community. I have the privilege to watch, learn and sometimes teach. My mentor is involving me in everything. I’ve helped manage several training sessions and became the leader on my last day.”
In their letter of recommendation, her mentors Meghan and Laurie Jo, wrote:
“Nikki brought energy and warmth to the office and all of our training sites, as well as amazing skill and organization. The work seemed to integrate well with her passions of social psychology and helping communities. She was respectful and honest and gave other teens a glimpse of her life as well. Having reciprocal relationships is of primary importance in any community work. We highly recommend her.”
Nicole was interested in child development and sociology
Nicole was a vibrant and extremely poised junior at Newton South High School, when she told us she was very interested in psychology. Her activities at school included varsity dance team and an advisory leader for freshman. Because she enjoyed her courses in Peer Education, Child Development and Sociology, we established an internship for her at one of our mentoring organizations that directly related to her interests.
At Boston-based Health Resources in Action, Nicole was involved in peer leadership training for inner-city girls. HRiA’s programs engage young people in the learning process and encourage self-discovery within the context of their own personal experience and communities. After the training, these students educate their own peers about health and prevention issues through a wide range of creative and effective strategies.
In her journal, Nicole she told us that she participated in meetings as a facilitator and learned many new skills.
Nicole, what’s been the best part of your internship?
“The best part of my internship has been the people. They have truly made my experience one to remember. Not only do I love the kids that I help to train, but my co-workers are amazing. They are able to teach me such valuable skills and lessons and they also just have a ton of insight. I’m honored that I got to work with them.”
Can you describe a situation during your internship in which you took a risk by putting yourself in a new position, such as meeting new people, asking questions, making suggestions? How it made you feel and tell us what you learned about yourself as a result.
“It’s when I taught the kids lesson plans. The kids that are being trained are my age so I was super worried that I was talking down to them or that I would be rusty on my presentation skills. I was really nervous because I want these kids to respect me not only as someone that they can look up to, but also as a peer. In the end though, I realized that they would have to present to kids their own age too, so it helped them to see me present as well.
This internship has really made a great impact on me. I learned that as long as I have the right mindset, I can determine what I am like as a leader and find success.”