By Nicole Hughes, Berkeley Center Career Coordinator
Internships and volunteer work are crucial parts of the CIP program. It allows students to explore current interests and to develop the skills they need to find employment and become responsible employees. Because our students have a wide variety of interests, the Berkeley Center coordinates and maintains relationships with many local businesses.
Some of our current and upcoming internship/volunteer opportunities include: Spectrum Center Schools, YMCA child care, Alta Bates Hospital, St. Vincent De Paul, Berkeley Public Library, Berkeley Humane Society and Channel 28-Public Access TV. Our students are motivated and committed to reaching their goals. They are all working hard to develop relationships with employers while gaining new experiences and skills.
Sheryl is currently involved in an internship program at Alta Bates Hospital, located in Oakland, California. Sheryl desires to be a pediatrician, she is currently working in the gift shop in order to amass hours on her way to a position in the pediatrician department. Sheryl has shown great responsibility with regard to her position there and in her desire to achieve direct experience as she pursues a career in medical field. She is ambitious and determined as well as dedicated and driven. With this type of attitude, Sheryl will go far.
Adam, entering into his 3rd year of the program, has a great interest in zoology. He is currently volunteering at the Oakland Zoo, and will begin volunteering at the Berkeley Humane Society, beginning the first week of September. He has a great love for animals, and by volunteering at these sites he is learning a great deal more about animals and how to care for them. The Berkeley Humane Society is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to placing homeless animals with committed caretakers; to developing healthy relationships between pets and people through education, training and counseling; and to promote the humane treatment of all animals.
At the Humane Society, Adam will learn to treat each animal as an individual and strive to meet the environmental and social needs of each dog or cat. He will work in collaboration with and support of the staff in general care of the shelter canines and in providing emotional care through daily enrichment activities.
Also, we have one student that will be volunteering for Channel 28-Public Access TV, for “The Gospel Search” show, through the Community Media Internship Program. Through this program, as an intern, he will gain experience in a nonprofit TV station setting and learning how PEG (public, education, and government) Access Stations work for the community.
This is mainly a production internship, but it will entail working in an office setting doing a wide range of tasks, which will include some administrative tasks. This internship will provide training in studio production, field camera production, Final Cut Pro editing, and equipment maintenance. As an intern, our student will have valuable free access to the production equipment and post-production facilities! BCM provides workshops in studio production, film production and more, which he will have free access to during his internship.
In addition we have 4 students that, beginning in September, will be volunteering as mentors to students with Asperger’s syndrome at different high school sites in Pleasant Hill, California. Our students will be going to classrooms and speaking about their experience with Asperger’s. This experience allows them to practice public speaking skills as well as learn to be a role model for students entering similar situations uch as transitioning into college. Additionally, they will be helping these students reach new goals by mentoring and giving advice.
Spectrum Center schools has been a leader in providing special education services to the San Francisco Bay Area since 1975. Their program was funded as alternative for students whose disabilities prevented them from attending public school.
In addition to internship opportunities here at CIP, Berkeley Center students also participate in community service throughout the year. Some of the community service events they have Completed include; beach cleanup, habitat restoration and feeding the homeless. Community service allows students to work as a team and support one another in being a productive part of the community, all while building character and feeling good about it.
For instance, a group of Berkeley students recently attended a community service project at Sausal Creek, a grassroots nonprofit organization. Students helped restore native plants by pulling weeds and ivy, etc. In addition, they learned about different types of plants, trails, and the importance of maintaining the native habitat. Sausal Creek’s mission is to promote awareness and protection of the Sausal Creek watershed as both a community and natural resource. They really had a great experience and learned a great deal.