By Osmaira Escoto
Being an intern for HACE has given me the opportunity to experience firsthand what HACE is all about. HACE has given me, as well as other Latinos, valuable resources that have and will help us throughout our career. By offering programs for high school students and college students, this non-for-profit organization allows you to gain the skills necessary to become a successful professional.
In August of 2012 I was able to land an internship with HACE as the El Futuro coordinator and got the opportunity to meet and work with a wonderful team. I also had the opportunity to gain some valuable skills that will help me in the near future as I leap into my professional field. During my internship I was assigned several tasks that have reinforced my current career direction. I want to work for the advancement of youth and working for El Futuro program has allowed me reach this goal by helping students gain skills that will help them not only graduate from high school but also to gain valuable skills to help them achieve their career goals.
El Futuro program works with students at different high schools in Chicago. The program aims to educate students about different professional careers and helps them transition from high school to college. My job, along with my colleague, is to implement different workshops that will catch the attention of the students and motivate them to participate in order to enhance their learning experience. The workshops being taught range from resume building, interviewing skills, STEM skills and other valuable information the students need to learn about the professional world.
My colleague and I are currently working with Richard High School students. This high school is situated in a low-income neighborhood in the south side of Chicago where the majority of students are Latinos and African-American. The first day that we walked in the classroom we realized that our job would not be easy. Half of the students were absent while many others were walking in late or walking out during the middle of the class. The students were unresponsive to our approaches and seemed to not care about what we had to say. Although our first day was not what we expected, we saw great improvement in the following sessions. Students have become more comfortable with us and have realized that HACE is really there to help them. They have gained motivation and engage more in the classroom. The students actually wanted to pay attention and learn from us.
This has proved that every student is capable of reaching their goals as long as they have caring adults in their lives that can guide them and push them to succeed. This is why it is important to invest in effective programs like HACE's El Futuro program, to provide students the encouragement they need to motivate them to reach their career goals. The problem is not that minority students do not want to educate themselves; the problem is that they lack the resources to get an adequate education. And this is what HACE is about. It is about empowering our youth for a better future.
Make a difference, invest in our youth and help HACE's El Futuro program by donating here.
Osmaira Escoto received her B.A. in Psychology and Criminology, Law and Justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012 and has served as the program intern at Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE). She is currently working as HACE's El Futuro Program Coordinator, interacting with students to facilitate their learning experience. She has also conducted research of different youth services with the purpose to make improvements to the El Futuro Program. She hopes to enter a graduate program in Clinical Psychology.