By Cristian Ponce | Special to the Almanac
Sophie Scheinman witnessed the challenges facing homeless families during an eight-week summer internship with InnVision Shelter Network, the Menlo Park-based nonprofit that provides shelter and services for homeless people in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
She was one of the five Silicon Valley high school graduates who participated in the paid internship program, part of Bank of America's Student Leaders program. The students got involved in a variety of management activities, from marketing to budgeting, and had firsthand experiences with homeless people.
Connor Crinion, a graduate of Bellarmine College Prep, said he has been thinking about working for a nonprofit since his sophomore year. He viewed the internship as a "preview of what my working life will be like."
Shivani Komma, an intern for InnVision's IT department, said she looked at the nonprofit's budget and helped save thousands of dollars on areas such as cellphone use.
Mei-Mei Chun Moy, who worked as a marketing intern, said the experience helped her improve her communications skills.
The students also went on a week-long leadership summit in Washington, D.C., where they met with members of Congress and participated in skill-building workshops and a community service project.
Many of the interns said that the experience, particularly working with homeless people, opened their eyes to problems in the area.
"I think it's been really enlightening and a great opportunity to be exposed to different issues in the Bay Area that I didn't know existed," said Ms. Komma, a graduate of Burlingame High School.
The internship, she said, "has made me more open to the idea that I can actually help create change in the world. This has shown me more of a direct path on how to do that. There's always a way that you can have a voice and make sure that whatever issue you see, there's a way that you can help solve that issue."