The YEZ at Banana Kelly:Students Learn About Communities & Themselves in Internships

By Stephanie Gilman, Program Manager

The Youth Engagement Zone at Banana Kelly has engaged a small part of its senior class this year in local internships that provide service-oriented job experience. This year we have 5 interns: Keylen Barahona and Anthony Rosario, who work with children at La Peninsula Head Start; Yanique McKenzie, who works at Assembly Member Marcos Crespo’s office; and Jessica Garcia and Lianabel Frias, who also work with children at the Bronx Charter School for the Arts.

On November 8, the interns participated in a reflection and lunch. Here’s what four of them had to say in response to questions!

What are three things you have learned at your internship?

Anthony: Kids aren’t as bad as you think. They don’t judge and if you’re actually there to help people will be happy to see you.
Yanique: I’ve learned that is it important to help our community members. I’ve also learned that Marcos Crespo is contributing to the community in many different ways. And I’ve learned to act professionally.
Keylen: Three things I have learned at my internship are that teachers have a lot of work when teaching the kids, they need a lot of patience, and they have to get accustomed to the personality of
each child.
Lianabel: The three things I’ve learned at my internship are that teachers have a lot of work besides teaching in class. Kindergarteners cry a lot. Hard work pays off.

[pullquote]I’ve learned at my internship that kindergarteners cry a lot…and hard work pays off.[/pullquote]

What has been the biggest challenge at your internship?

Anthony: Reading in front of a group of four year olds.
Yanique: The biggest challenge is not being bilingual. I think that if I was bilingual I would be able to help more Latinos.
Keylen: The biggest challenge is to find an activity that the kids enjoy and can learn something important from. Because they all like to do different things.
Lianabel: My biggest challenge is fire drills because they are crazy. My other biggest challenge has been having to translate the kids homework into Spanish so the parents can understand.

Has anything surprised you? If so, what?

Anthony: How quickly the kids bond to you.
Keylen: Something that has surprised me is that the children at La Peninsula Head Start are very smart in a unique way. Although they each have their own difficulties, they seem to know a lot about what surrounds them.
Lianabel: What surprised me is that being a teacher isn’t such a bad thing.

How would you prepare a peer for this internship? What would you tell him/her?

Anthony: I would just warn them that the kids are all at different stages and to be patient with each child.
Yanique: I would prepare a peer for this internship by informing him/her about the community. I would tell him/her some of the problems in our community and how we could help to solve these problems.
Keylen: I would tell them to be understanding with each kid, and interact with the kids and teachers as much as they can.
Lianabel: I would tell him/her to always go in with a positive attitude, because you’ll always have fun no matter what you’re doing or what class you’re placed in.