By Tiffany Lam
Special to the Almanac
Facebook summer interns took a short break from their computers for the company's first intern game day during the afternoon of Wednesday, July 30.
One hundred high school and college interns from Facebook traveled from the company's Menlo Park headquarters to Hoover Park in Redwood City to play with local first- through fifth-grade students. From dodgeball to dancing to conversations over snacks, interns and younger students were able to interact in multiple ways.
"It's hard to keep up with them," said Michael Sayman, a participant in Facebook's high school internship program. "They have so much energy, and they've been asking a lot of questions about Facebook. It's awesome."
This year's event, exclusive to interns and local students, was inspired by Facebook's annual game day, an all-company tradition that started with 10 employees playing capture the flag about a decade ago.
The first- through fifth-graders came from local communities, such as East Palo Alto, east Menlo Park and North Fair Oaks. Partnering with Redwood City and after-school programs such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Facebook brought in 300 children.
Redwood City Parks and Recreation Services provided the equipment and training for the event. Facebook provided transportation for the students.
According to Susan Gonzales, director of community engagement at Facebook, the event is a way to give back to the community.
"It's an opportunity for locals to interact with students studying technology," said Ms. Gonzales. "We want to expose kids to the idea of education in science and technology."
The company wanted interactions to happen organically, noted Ms. Gonzales, when asked about the focus on games rather than other types of engagement.
"It's a fun way for the kids to become exposed to different opportunities," said Redwood City Councilwoman Alicia Aguirre. "Many don't have these types of role models."
And the event is rewarding not only for the young students, but the interns as well.
"It's nice to get time to spend away from the computer and interact with the community," said Chyheim Alon Jackson Burgess, a college intern studying at the University of California at San Diego. "A lot of them are interested in programming."