Chosen along with four other Silicon Valley teens, Sydney, 17, is working for eight weeks at a paid internship for a local nonprofit organization, and will then attend a week-long Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.
It's a "really awesome opportunity and no one knows about it," Ms. Young said. She heard about it from Jolene Kokroko, the youth coordinator at Menlo Park Presbeytarian Church. Sydney has passed the word to M-A staff so others there will know about it in the future.
The goal of the Student Leaders program is to help decrease teen unemployment and give students "real-world experience," while helping the community, according to a Bank of America spokesperson.
Sydney is working in Redwood City for Citizen Schools, a nonprofit with a "really innovative program for education. They have a twofold approach, with academic supports for the students ... and also apprenticeships," she said. The program is "really inspiring the kids, showing them the connection between the classroom and real life."
At work, she "get(s) to do a little bit of everything ... supporting all the different" parts, including operations, office work, intake calls, recruitment and development.
The best part, she says, is "being part of the team. Citizen Schools has a really welcoming workplace culture to it." People there are "given wonderful opportunities ... to just tag along to different things" and get the most out of the experience.
The leadership summit in Washington, D.C., will bring together students from across the country to collaborate and engage in interactive workshops and activities. "That's the icing on the cake," Ms. Young commented. "I'm really excited to go."
The program has been in place since 2004, and about 1,600 students have taken part. This year, 225 seniors and juniors across the country are participating.
Visit tinyurl.com/Lead-703 for more information about the Bank of America's Student Leaders program.