by Samantha Boccia
You may have heard the term “senioritis.” If you haven’t, it’s the name of the bug high school seniors catch during their final year of school that seems to inhibit their complete attention and diligence in schoolwork. In order to combat this trend, the Connelly School of the Holy Child, my high school in Potomac, MD, implemented the Senior Internship Program. My soon-to-graduate class was deemed the “guinea pigs” for this new experiment, so the experience has been a learning opportunity for the school, my classmates and me.
Over the course of the year, we reviewed both a school-generated list of sponsors and our personal connections. With our college and career goals in mind, we contacted an organization we were interested in and prepared to assimilate into the workforce. During two of the last weeks of school, my fellow Holy Child seniors and I embarked on our internships.
This is how I ended up at Save the Children Action Network (SCAN). But as I walked into the building in Washington, D.C., I wasn’t sure what to expect.
However, any question about this being a rewarding experience was thrown out the window once I reached my desk. Before I had time to let my settings sink in, I was off to a meeting where I received three projects! As a student government leader in my class during my entire high school career, I enjoyed balancing a lot of responsibilities at once, so I was excited to jump into such a hands-on internship.
Along with the facts I’ve learned through my research projects, my eyes have been opened to issues SCAN works on. I have learned the brain undergoes the majority of its development by the time a child reaches age five, and yet some children do not have access to early childhood education, putting them at a disadvantage in the future. And beginning school at a disadvantage sets children back in a possibly irreversible way. And around the world, millions of mothers and children are dying every year as a result of preventable illnesses, such as pneumonia and diarrhea. A lack of resources can lead to a loss of lives.
But if we prioritize these two issues as voters and call on politicians to do the same, we can drive a movement to end the preventable deaths of mothers and children and guarantee access to early childhood education for all children here in the U.S. That’s why SCAN has urged Congress to support the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act, which would expand investments in early education programs, and the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, which would save the lives of 15 million children and 600,000 moms by 2020.
I really hit a home run interning with SCAN. I was able to learn the ins and outs of a political action non-profit, analyze its goals and research its influence on policy in Washington, D.C. and states around the country. Along with those specific lessons, I learned about being a part of a team, cooperating with different departments, building working relationships, and working toward meaningful goals. These more universally applicable lessons prepared me better for the “real world” before I become a part of it next year as a college freshman.
You don’t have to be an intern to work with SCAN! Sign the pledge to start using your voice to help kids survive and thrive.