By Hiba Ahmed, MD Summer Program Intern
Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff
My summer internship at Asian American LEAD (AALEAD) was a very exhilarating experience that I cannot wait to use in my future explorations of the human services field. After seven weeks, I will walk away having learned much more about community values, the significance of education, empowerment, and the power of youth. For the first time in a very long time, I felt as though I was a part of something worth fighting for.
I came into the internship almost blind, never having worked in a non-profit environment in the past, with the exception of several volunteering experiences at local hospitals. I expected to be the every day intern that is often described in movies and TV shows who performs miscellaneous administrative tasks, but the MD office expected much more than the basics out of me; this was both challenging and refreshingly stimulating. My internship experience at AALEAD taught me how amazing humans can be, and I feel truly honored to have been allowed to be a short-term member of a team that works so hard to serve families and youth every day.
The MD staff are nothing short of inspiring. Each and every day, they are full of energy, drive and excitement for the youth that they serve. The work that they put into the workshops, field trips and learning experiences that they plan are always above and beyond. Watching them arrange these every day activities and even interact with the youth encouraged me to want to become even better and serve the youth with the same passion. Their dedication made me realize the impact that they have on the youth as well as their families and how important minor details can be – not just to young people, but all people, as they are transitioning through different phases of life.
Though I cannot say for sure whether or not I left a lasting impact on the youth, what I can say for certain is that they left a lasting impact on me with lessons, memories and friendships that I will remember for a lifetime. I am glad that I had the chance to work with an organization centered on youth because it gave me a chance to practice a skill that I lack and would like to improve on in future experiences. As my very first internship/real-world experience at AALEAD, I have gained so much, and I hope that all other future professional settings can be just as educational and inspiring.
Thank you so much AALEAD staff and youth for your patience, relentless kindness, and lessons. I hope that I can someday return and also impart my efforts into helping this organization grow just as it has helped me grow.