On Monday, July 9th, 10 teenagers from across the city arrived at SMSJ to begin their summer internship experience in our EDEN gardens. Over the next 6 weeks, our interns will be working with us to maintain the gardens and share SMSJ’s vision of a happy, healthy, connected community with our Beechwood neighbors.
SMSJ was chosen from an extremely competitive pool of potential employers to host interns through SOOP (Summer of Opportunity Program), an initiative run by RochesterWorks! in collaboration with the City of Rochester. SOOP is designed to provide youth ages 14-20 with a supportive first employment experience and equip them with the tools they need to succeed in the workforce as they enter adulthood.
SMSJ has designed our interns’ experience around the pillars of gardening, healthy living, leadership, community engagement, and job readiness, and we hope they will walk away from this experience ready to be successful adults and leaders in their communities.
After a brief orientation, the interns headed over to the EDEN Training Center garden on Denver Street to see what we're growing and participate in a weeding workshop with Tom Weiler, the Training Center garden captain. Tom had an incredible amount of knowledge to share about weeds and the methods gardeners use to control them, and the weeds in the garden were no match for our 10 eager interns!
The SMSJ team has wanted to run an internship program for years, and we are so happy that our vision has finally come to fruition. We are so excited to spend the next 6 weeks learning and growing with our interns, and we're grateful to have the opportunity to introduce them to the EDEN gardens and our Beechwood community.
Stay tuned over the next 6 weeks to hear more news from us and from our interns themselves. We can't wait for you to see what they accomplish!