SOOP Week 3 Blog
The summer has been flying by, and our SOOP interns are just past the halfway point in their internship experience. Over the past several weeks, they’ve been shoveling, planting, learning, networking, canvassing, and forming relationships, and it’s been amazing to watch them (and our gardens) grow!
Week 3 of the internship program meant a lot of shoveling, weed whacking, and harvesting for our interns, and we also had the pleasure of hosting several speakers from the community. Josh, a Foodlink nutrition educator, taught the interns how to make whole grain wraps. Pam Graham, a trainer from the Willow Domestic Violence Center, led a fantastic workshop on healthy relationships. And finally, Brian Conheady from the Monroe County System of Care helped the interns identify their personal triggers and increase their self-awareness.
To commemorate the end of their third week in the program, I interviewed Kalena, a 17-year-old student at RACS, and Ismael, a 16-year old student at Leadership, about their intern experience at SMSJ and their plans for the future.
Q: What’s been your favorite thing that you’ve done this week?
Ismael: “Mulching between the beds at 1199 Culver Road. It made the garden look so much better.”
Kalena: “Definitely painting the Little Free Library. I want to decorate it with fruits because they look nice and colorful.”
Q: What’s been your favorite part of your internship experience so far?
Ismael: “This is actually teaching me how to stay focused more. I’m a physical-type person so I like hands-on stuff, but I’m trying to listen more and stay focused. The activities we do are really interesting so that helps me.”
Kalena: “Playing games and doing interactive activities with the other interns. It’s fun because we’re not just sitting down and reading stuff like we do at school. You kind of learn a little bit more about everybody.”
Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned over the last 3 weeks?
Ismael: “There’s been a lot of things. Brian Conheady does a lot of fun stuff that helps me work on my brain, and it’s really interesting how the brain responds to stress. Also learning about relationships and preventing abuse and violence—that’s really important for people to know.”
Kalena: “Yesterday Pam talked about living your truth. Instead of lying to yourself or to anyone else, just be real about how you feel. It’s better for everyone.”
Q: What have you done over the past 3 weeks that you’re most proud of?
Ismael: “Being on time to work. I’ve never been to something like this on time, like school—ugh. But this has been really good practice for me. I think it’ll be easier for me to be in school after this.”
Kalena: “Painting the Little Free Library was nice. I like drawing and painting, and I like that I can add my own ideas to it.”
Q: What do you want to do in the future?
Ismael: “I don’t know. I’m the type of person who likes to be physical. Landscaping, roofing, mechanics, but also sports—basketball, soccer, swimming. Hiking, fishing. Something hands-on all the time. I might go to Brockport, maybe study history.”
Kalena: “I want to work in a pharmacy and have all my stuff together. I want to go to St. John Fisher but I just got a scholarship to another college—but it doesn’t have the major I want, so that’s my plan B.”
Q: Is there anything else you want to share with people?
Ismael: “A few days ago, I learned that Rochester is top 5 in the nation for worst schools, highest murder rates—that was shocking to me. I think people should start getting up and doing things, like what we’re doing working in the gardens. Seeing nice things makes people want to make other things nice. We have to put the work in to make Rochester better.”