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September 6, 2012

Intern Dinner

Over the summer, six children from the Youth Education program at Saca Community Learning Center interned in Adult Education, Parent Education and Youth Education. They preformed various tasks including phone calls, data entry, filing paperwork, copying, faxing, painting, cleaning and preparing for programs. Each youth intern far exceeded the staff’s expectations by asking for more hours per days to volunteer. Each student completed well over the 36 hours they initially agreed upon.

The interns faced and overcame a variety of challenges, sometimes without any help. As a thank you, staff members asked the interns to identify an ideal gift card to receive for their hard work and dedication they showed over the summer. They immediately responded as a group, “Can we dress up and go to dinner?” This warmed our hearts to learn that even after spending much of the summer together, these children would love to spend more time with us. Via voting, the group decided to enjoy dinner in two different ways: the three boys went with James, Adult Education Program Manager, to eat at Golden Corral, and the three girls went with Heather, Youth Education Program Manager, and Kristina to The Cheesecake Factory.

None of the female interns had ever been to The Cheesecake Factory, so this was a privilege for them. Their eyes lit up as they walked through the doors. One of the girls immediately took out her cell phone and started taking pictures of the decor and desserts while waiting to be seated. After being seated, it took the group a while to order because the large menu filled with unfamiliar choices felt overwhelming to the interns.  Heather urged everyone to share new appetizer of chicken samosas, papas bravas and sweet corn fritters. To their surprise, the dish was very tasty. Their main courses of pasta and hamburgers felt more familiar.

As each plate arrive, a smile spread across each interns face, warming the hearts of the staff. Even with all the excitement, each student thought about their families and made sure to save some food and dessert for them.

This was a night to remember. At times, I take for granted what my own children often have access to. I expected the interns to have the same reaction my kids always do, “It’s just another restaurant,” or “The Cheesecake Factory again,” but to the interns, this experience was very different. Not only did the young girls receive a lesson on napkin etiquette and how expensive dining out can be, but I learned the biggest lesson of all: to never take anything for granted. Just because I see something every day does not mean that others see it the same way. I encourage everyone to stop for a moment and think about what we have and consider sharing that with others.

Submitted by Kristina Rodriguez, Youth Education Program Coordinator

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