Green Jobs Interns Learn About Social Entrepreneurship
This season, the Green Jobs Interns are focusing on theme of social entrepreneurship, which entails learning about different types of local businesses that were born out of a passion for doing good in the community and then applying learning to their own interests and passions for community impact. The goal is to develop entrepreneurial concepts of their own with plan to bring them to fruition over the long term.
This blog reports on the intern's program activities prior to the COVID-19 lockdown. A separate entry will address how the interns are adapting and persevering during the pandemic. We are so proud of our resilient teens!
Our Spring program began mid-February. Creating a space for learning is important and who better to do it than the people who will be learning in that space? The newly formed Spring 2020 Green Jobs interns cohort put on their creative and project development hats as they worked together to redesign their work space. The interns started off by breaking into groups and visualizing ideas. Then they moved everything out of the room that didn’t pertain to them. Next, using post-it notes, they brainstormed what could go where and how it might look. Holding a conversation around vision alignment, the interns broke into different groups to take responsibility for different parts of the project writing out project plans and material lists.
Their solution to organize the room anew, with hand-painted curtains and a brand new chalk wall has improved functionality and overall appearance of the space. Ready to get down to business!.
The interns received a private mindfulness session with the one and only Shefau from ZenZilla Yoga and Wellness. Some seemed hesitant at first, noting that they haven’t done yoga in the past, however by the end of the session they remarked how relaxed they felt. Shefau also made some time to talk with the interns about their passions and her own story of entrepreneurship with ZenZilla.
Next, the interns visited Holberton Coding School right here in New Haven, where they had the opportunity to learn about technology and how it can provide solutions to social and environmental problems. They got to see the daily stand-up and presentations by the students and participated in the feedback process. The Green Jobs Interns will continue to explore public speaking throughout the season in preparation for the Teach-Back at the end of the season, where they will be sharing their own ideas for entrepreneurship ventures.
Another theme this season is the exploration of Social and Restorative Justice. Interns had the opportunity to connect with two people who have made it their work. Raven Blake, Love Fed Initiative, presented how her organization works towards food justice/sovereignty in New Haven through a number endeavors including installing gardens in residents’ yards. Additionally, she shared her path in creating Love Fed and answered questions.
The Green Jobs interns and our Youth Educator interns also joined together to learn about Restorative Justice and the practice of Nonviolent Communication with longtime Solar Youth partner, Joe Brummer. These skills, like Observation/Feelings/Needs/Request, will be reinforced throughout the season.
Professionalism is a skill to be practiced like any other. To this end, the Green Job interns are exploring what it looks like to participate in different types of professional environments. There was an active conversation around what it looks like for each of us to present in the way that best supports the impression that we want to make in any given situation. Throughout the conversation we talked about dress, how to actively listen and respond, how body language shows intent, and practiced developing and asking questions. The following day, the Interns practiced what they learned during a visit with Thomas Easley, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental studies. The interns asked questions about Thomas's life and path to his current position as Assistant Dean of Community and Inclusion. Following the conversation, both Thomas and the interns shared how much they appreciate that preparing questions in advance helps interactions go more smoothly and increases enjoyment. We will continue to meet with Thomas remotely, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to discuss Environmental Justice and how the interns can engage with the issues.