By WENDI WHEELER ’06
Major: YOUTH AND FAMILY MINISTRY, PSYCHOLOGY MINOR
Internship: SEEDS OF CHANGE AT ST. PAUL CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
Seeds of Change is an after-school program directed toward African American males. We try to give them the support they need in their education and in their personal lives.
Our main goal is to get the families involved in the kids’ lives. A lot of their parents don’t go to conferences and don’t know about their kids’ grades. We are inviting the parents to a family night where they come and get involved in conversations. We are doing a small play to portray their experiences in school and life. It’s a chance for them to literally tell their parents what is going on in their lives. At the end we give the parents an opportunity to talk about what they saw.
My goal is to be a support for the students. I first of all want to be a listening ear and hear where they are in life and be with them. They talk about how they moved around all their life and they never had a stable home. A lot of them don’t have fathers in their lives. They talk about how their relationship with their parents isn’t good and how they have seen their parents at their lowest points. They didn’t know how to handle it so they found a way to cope. You see kids who get into drugs because it’s the only way that makes them feel normal. Some of them don’t go home sometimes; they just ride the bus all night.
What have you learned?
It has helped me immensely. I’ve been put in a leadership position as the artistic coordinator. I’ve learned how to be a leader, how to make decisions, and how to lead a group. It’s different leading a group of people who are going out to do volunteer work or working with kids, but having your own employees and needing to delegate and make sure they stay on top of it is different. It’s been totally new for me. I’ve learned the importance of being consistent and organized and on time. If you’re slacking on something, it starts to show.
What is the value of your internship?
It has prepared me for the real world. When I walk into a new job situation, I am confident that I will be able to step in right away. I feel comfortable working with young people because through the youth and family ministry major we were taught to focus on what youth really want—not just from a religious perspective but on a human level. When I come into a situation I am able to understand what a person really wants.