What it’s like to be a high school intern at the EV

My name is Anadalay. I’m a sophomore at Cristo Rey (CRSJ), and I’m an education intern at Environmental Volunteers. CRSJ is a Private Jesuit high school which was opened in 2014, the 2022 class will be the 5th graduating class. Over 90% of the students will be  the first in their families to attend college.  The Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) works with over 90 companies across the Bay Area. The partnership between CWSP and Environmental Volunteers (the EV) has been going for two years. The CWSP intern works in the Education Department on-site at the Santa Clara office. 

A bit about me. My family is from Mexico, I have two siblings. My brother is in 11th grade and also attends Cristo Rey. My sister is in 7th grade and goes to Sacred Heart Nativity. My dad is a Volunteer at a clinic and my mom works at Sap Center. Recently my cousin came from Mexico and now has become a big part of our family. Apart from that, some of my interests are playing guitar, doing my makeup, and music. My favorite subject in school is English because of the book we are reading. It is called Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay. 

My goal is to study to become a Veterinarian or a nurse. I chose Cristo Rey because of the CWSP. I wanted to experience what it was to work and I had never heard of a school who gave working opportunities. I also wanted to see if their CWSP would help me for my future career. 

On my first day I think I was very shy and not that productive with my work, I kept to myself a lot and wouldn’t ask questions. But I have seen myself change from that first day to now because I’m more open and comfortable with Christine and the workplace. I ask more questions so I can get my work done in time or have as much done as I can. Therefore, the best advice I received from others at the EV and a tip for future Work Study Students is to not get too nervous about in-person work because it’s not as bad as you’ll make it seem. I think it’s more fun and exciting to go in person and create a relationship with your supervisor.

    I’ve worked at the EV for a full school year. During that year the main project I worked on was an organization project. I researched apps that can be used to sort out supplies and found two that we’ve been using called Sortly and Scan Your Boxes. We use Sortly to organize drawers and smaller supplies. Similarly, Scan Your Boxes is used to organize the boxes in storage. This app also lets us print out a QR code that we put on the box and can easily scan it for the materials that are inside. With both of the apps you can search up what you are looking for and it’ll tell you where it is located. In fact, we decided on these apps because they were easier to use than a paper list and it was easy to update and search for. 

The education department supports the EV by helping kids learn about the environment and different types of local animals/plants. They provide classrooms with different kits which have activities to help them learn. They also teach virtual classes. What I’ve learned from virtual meetings at EV was how Bayland Birds and Environmental Justice was being taught to elementary school kids, or how it can be taught to them. I really learned how to fulfill and improve on my speaking skills and gained knowledge for my work projects.

The highlights from working with the EV were meeting new people and connecting with them. It made me comfortable to work with them and discuss my work. Another highlight was working on a  Community program on sustainable winter crafts. I researched craft ideas for it and found how to make a crystal snowflake out of salt and water. I then tested the model and created the how to slides for a virtual program. 

A breakthrough moment was when I didn’t really know where anything was but then it became one of my projects so I figured out where all the supplies were stored. I always felt successful when I finished my work. Especially when there was a lot to do or when I organized a lot of boxes into Scan You Boxes. 

What I learned at the EV that I can take to my future workplace is the organization and inventory management skills. Another skill is how you can agree/disagree with each other in an understandable way. Like seeing each other’s point of views and accepting it and understanding where that person is coming from. Seeing adults do that makes me feel like I can be that mature when I grow up to not argue but to understand each other, especially in a work environment. And the fact that they were understandable makes me feel like I will be more confident in a future job and with asking questions.

I’m thankful for how kind Christine, Molly, Francine, and Rick were to me while working at the EV. I made great relationships with them and couldn’t ask for better supervisors/ mentors! They all had a positive attitude and even though I worked with Molly, Francine and Rick less than I did with Christine I still felt comfortable around them. It was a fun environment to work in. 

By Anadalay Maldonado