Intern Spotlight: Sarai Gamez
Every summer, the Hispanic Center provides employment for students, filling various needs that range from clerical interns to youth team leaders. These paid internships allow youth the opportunity to learn real-world skills in a professional work environment. Sarai Gamez was an office intern.
In between representing the Center on the phone and organizing its documents, Sarai also chaperoned several Youth Department field trips, including camping and visiting the zoo with the middle schoolers. She particularly enjoyed bonding with younger students. “It was really nice getting to know the students who were like me.” One of her favorite memories is when the giraffes licked one of the kid’s faces!
Sarai believes that this kind of experience is instrumental for youth like her so that they can pair a positive first work experience with learning. “She is very down to earth, but an incredibly hard worker” says Youth Advocate Bridget Ehlich, who supervised Sarai. “She takes tasks into her own hands and does them successfully.” Sarai feels her experiences at the Center will have an impact on her intended major at Calvin College: social work.
A first-generation college student, Sarai won “five or six” scholarships from Calvin College. She wants to work with kids “probably on an international level” or in orphanages. “Hispanics are sometimes looked at as people who don’t get an education or go to college,” Sarai stated. “But we’re making a difference. There’s been an improvement, you can see that here. Graduation and college rates have gone up a lot. We’re doing good things.“