A Day in a Life of an America’s Promise Alliance Intern

Summer 2011

It’s easy for someone who has been working since the age of 15 to just assume that working anywhere would be the same as any job. I’ve read about America’s Promise Alliance prior to applying for the internship—but  it never dawned on me until I actually became part of what America’s Promise Alliance is committed to doing, that they work to better the lives of youth who are in many ways similar to me.

I am an intern from Los Angeles, California—Eagle Rock to be exact. Depending on what area of Eagle Rock you live, it’s not necessarily a rough neighborhood to grow up in. But, it does have its disparities.

My parents are immigrants to this country.  It was a big deal for them when I turned 15 because I was finally able to work. Sixteen was a celebration after I passed by driving test because I was able to drive my mom to her job, then go to my school, and then my job right after. Three incomes are always better than two. I was rarely at home. Going to school then work has been my daily routine since.

Too often was I confronted with issues that would make me question why I needed to stay in school. I had to travel to different areas of Los Angeles, and even further out of the county, to find all Five Promises (caring adults, safe places, a healthy startan effective education and opportunities to help others). My drive to actually finish high school stemmed from the thought that my future children will never have to go through what I was going through—what many youth in my neighborhood was going through. It was all too common that it became normal.  I, fortunately, wanted to break away from that silence.

The Alliance’s dedication to bettering the lives of youth hits me close to home. Their effort to forge partnership alliances with programs and organizations that are committed to seeing children be able to experience the fundamental resources they need to succeed is astonishing. Prior to college, I didn’t even know organizations like this existed nor did I think outside sources truly cared for our youth.

Being an intern for America’s Promise Alliance has taught me more than I expected to discover. Where I originally thought would just help me practice the skills I’ve learned at UCLA, I also learned about difficulties in communities outside of mine and the unceasing efforts put forth by those who really do want to help make a difference.  Furthermore, through my internship in the Alliance, I’ve volunteered in a DCPNI neighborhood, I attended Town Hall meetings that were focused on youth development and education, and, I went to a Congressional briefing geared towards finding effective means for low-income families to gain access to affordable higher education.  Although these events exposed issues that were all too common to me, the  difference can be found on the actions to counter the circumstances: they don’t just talk about it.

Through the Alliance, I was given a chance to voice out and share my ideas for bettering my generation and those to follow. America’s Promise Alliance opened doors for me to put my thoughts into actions. I’m going back home to California as an encouraged youth (as I would still like to think), more aware of the crises that lurk Los Angeles communities and deeply affect our Angelino youth.  Grad Nation not only became a nationwide movement, it began to move me.