Class Year: 2018
Internship Placement: ACLAMO is an organization in Norristown, PA, that provides programs and resources to Latino and low-income families in the surrounding area. This summer I hope to teach in their summer education program for young adolescents and help to develop and establish a small library.
What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!
I just got home after finishing the ten weeks of Summer of Service, a Civic Engagement program that allows ten students to intern at service-minded organizations while living together in Batten House on campus. Through Summer of Service I had the opportunity to work at ACLAMO, a nonprofit organization in Norristown (only 8 miles away from Bryn Mawr, but with about an hour commute through SEPTA) that works with low-income and new immigrant families in the area. During the first five weeks at my site I worked in the office developing a curriculum for the class I would be teaching and just getting a general feel for what it’s like to be in a nonprofit culture.
It’s been the second half of the summer that really gave me the chance to do some hands-on work — I was a teacher to 2nd through 9th graders at ACLAMO’s summer program. I taught a class called Life Skills, which is a lot like a middle school health class, but with my own emphasis on self-care and personal identity thrown in. We talked about nutrition, daily living, interpersonal communication, and, for the older students, small units on resume building and sex-ed. It was a lot of work to develop a curriculum from scratch and then present the material to my students — the summer program had about 120 in total — but the relationships I was able to build with the kids and the information I hope I passed on made everything, including the SEPTA commute, worth it. It was such a fantastic learning experience that forced me to think on my feet and be open and honest with both my students and my site supervisor. And it’s shaped how I view my future in the nonprofit world, now that I have a better sense of what it’s like and how nonprofits are actually run.
Some Highlights: The best part of my summer experience was, by far, getting to build relationships with my students. I feel so honored that they trusted me enough to not only be engaged in the lesson material that I was teaching, but also to let me into their personal lives. Especially with my older students, we had discussions on harder topics like gender identity and sexual health, some of which they had never talked about before. But they responded with maturity and interest, and, at least from my viewpoint, learned a lot.
Apart from my internship, I had such a great time going into Philly and exploring the city in my free time. Before this summer I’d never gotten a chance to spend much time there, but now I feel like I can take my friends and have fun during the semester.