When I was in highschool, I began my journey with a youth media collective that focused on media-making as well as community engagement. It was my first real opportunity to gain the leadership skills and the tools needed to work actively within the greater community. It opened up the door for opportunities that still continue to open for me today. This summer, I had the privilege to work as a Youth Employment Summer Institute intern with this same organization that helped me in my development: Generation Justice.
During the YES! orientation, I saw youth from all over Albuquerque about to start their internships with different organizations and begin their journey in community action. In these young people, I saw a lot of leaders and a powerful force. It reminded me when I was their age, just starting up at Generation Justice. It was beautiful to see a lot of young people wanting to spend their summers being a part of community engagement.
Towards the end of the orientation, I was invited to speak on a panel about my experiences being a youth organizer in New Mexico. I was speaking to a room full of teens who were just starting their organizing journey, and for me it was a full-circle moment. I remember being a teenager and sitting in a room inspired by organizers who were only a few years older than me.
Being a YES! intern is a more engaging and rewarding way of earning extra cash during the summer than getting a job at a retail store. You are not only helping communities grow, but you’re also gaining knowledge and skills that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.
The main take away from this internship is the opportunity it gives to youth in our city to learn and become excited about serving our community. It’s an introduction to many of these kids and it’s an important and empowering introduction to receive.
For me, it is just as empowering to be part of this amazing program and to work with Generation Justice. Working for an organization that does so much positive work is the most rewarding experience I could have.
The future of Albuquerque will look bright because we have so many youth organizers working to make it better today.