DENVER (CBS4) – Going to school is hard enough, but imagine going to class, working a job and participating in an internship at the same time. Some students from an under-served neighborhood in Denver are doing just that.
Four students from local high schools are part of the City of Denver’s “Career Residency” program. They’re interns for the city’s North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative which focuses on projects in Elyria Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods.
“I, myself, wanted to help my own neighborhood out,” explained 17-year-old Elena Espino, an intern in the program. “I know what it feels like to not have help or have nobody help you, so I’m glad they do this.”
The internship allows the high school students to participate in meetings and contribute to ongoing projects they’re passionate about in the city. Working with city leaders to make real change, Espino is working to address affordable housing.
“I know the homeless people in my neighborhood and affordable housing has to do with that,” she told CBS4. “So those are one of the projects I’m very passionate about, and I hope I can do something out of it.”
Amanda Coy, 16, also lives in the Elyria neighborhood. She said she’s worked on projects regarding healthier school lunch options in Denver Public Schools.
“It’s a new experience to help them learn what my school is like, and compare it to other schools to see what we can do to change that,” Coy said.
Another intern, 17-year-old Bryssa Sileraio, said the program has allowed her to learn more about technology and software. It has helped her to improve skills in different professional areas.
“It’s a great opportunity, I haven’t seen too many teens involved with the city,” Sileraio said.
The internship lasts three years, and gives the teens more responsibility each year. The program director said each intern is a first generation student, and they are paid and treated as city employees.