It's a sure sign that summer is coming to a close as we say goodbye and THANK YOU to our MICAH Youth Intern. We asked her to name some learnings from her experience:
Three important lessons I have taken from my internship at Genesis
1. My opinions are far more important than I ever gave myself credit for
When I first came into the Genesis office I was surprised that Genesis leaders would double check with me about events, trainings, and important decisions. My words were key when following through in planning events. Now I did have my occasional doubts, “What if my opinion is wrong” or “ Did I express that right?”. However, Genesis taught me that everything I said would have an effect on around how decisions will be made. Their confidence in me fed into my personal self growth.
2. I deserve to be at the table
I remember I went to a public official’s board meeting. They were speaking about youth transit. When they asked for public comments, I introduced myself and bravely asked those at the table, “ We are speaking about youth, but I want you all to look around and realize that I am the only youth at the table”. Everyone froze, some were stunned with the realization that I was right. I spoke about the hardships I encounter as a college student -without a car; Which has deterred me from applying to off campus job and internships. After the meeting, I was approached by public officials and activists who were impressed by my story. I realized that my presence allowed the meeting to shift. Mary Lim-Lampe, my supervisor, once told me “You are at an age where anything you say amazes those around you.” I had never thought that by speaking in spaces where youth are not often at the table it would allow adults to respect my opinion and more often than not, view me as an essential piece to progressive social change.
3. My life story-and emotions- matter
If you have ever attended a Genesis meeting, you know we are aiming to be as intentional as possible. We start off with a “building relationship” question that allows us to understand others. I have learned that many times people have hidden their life stories from others to protect themselves from their own reality. In social justice work and organizing we urge others to speak about their stories around public policy and how it has affected them, yet we fail to speak about ours. Through the various one on ones I have held with community leaders I have learned something new about them- and about me. I learned that identity is something I shy away from but urge others to explore. I learned that emotions often make me uncomfortable but dealing with them does not make me a weaker individual. It just makes me human. I am excited to explore this new chapter in my life where I am beginning to write and accept my story and share it with others.