Earlier this year, YouthForce member and high school junior Bethany Brundage was named a Bank of America Student Leader for their summer 2020 cohort. In this Q&A update, Bethany shares how her internship went working remotely, and what she learned.
How did your internship go?
At the beginning of the program, we had many online webinars like Mentoring, Racial Equity in America, Insecure Food in America, a Guide to Managing Money, Implicit Bias, Alvin Ailey, and College Behind Bars: The Transformative Power of Education. We also had panels like Career Paths in the Financial Sector, Public Policy & Media Relations, and a non-profit called Financial Beginnings Oregon. We were given an exercise called Neighborhood Builders; where we have to give $200,000 to a non-profit that best deserves the grant.
Throughout the internship, the Portland market had to work with a non-profit organization which was Habitat for Humanity. They want to expand their platform so that the young generations know about their organization. They thought that TikTok was a good platform to use and wanted us, student leaders, to come up with starter videos for them. At the end of the program, we had a session that lasted two days called Young Democracy at Home which allowed us to voice our opinions on the current issues. From the conversation we had we took into consideration actions to take for Young Democracy at Home Follow up sessions. We met other Student Leaders from across the country, and with the guidance of a Close Up Program Instructor, created action plans to address issues in our home communities.
What was it like working remotely?
This year was a new experience for everyone, including the director/workers of the program. They did an awesome job adjusting new things along the way because I didn’t have any problem getting into online webinars or meetings. I was very sad that I didn’t have the chance to work with Habitat for Humanity at their construction sites, or being able to go to D.C., but I was glad to have had an awesome experience being part of Bank of America Student Leaders 2020. Even if I didn’t have a chance to meet them in person, it’s good to see them online.
Biggest takeaway or lesson?
A big takeaway or lesson I would bring to my communities is knowledge. Before the program, I knew little about the current situation around the world. Throughout the program, I learned many viewpoints from guest speakers and also from other Student Leaders throughout the country. What they have to say will always impact how I view the world. I’m able to bring this knowledge to my clubs, volunteering, and jobs.
I love learning new things because I know that I will pass my knowledge and experience to another person, who will use the information to help other people. To make an impact on our world, we need to educate our peers and the future generation so that they can get educated as well, and pass on their knowledge, until everyone is educated. Instead of a small group changing the world, we as a whole will change the world for future generations to take on. Everyone has a voice that can impact other people, we have to speak up so that other people can hear our voice.
Did any of your expectations change from the start to the end of the internship?
In the beginning, I was expecting to work with Habitat for Humanity on something but not sure what it was. I didn’t expect to have webinars, panels, and worked with peers to make TikTok for Habitat for Humanity.
Throughout, the program was an overall amazing experience to have. It still shocks me today that I was chosen to be part of Bank of America Student Leaders 2020. Out of everyone in the Portland Metro area, they decided to pick me! I am very grateful to be chosen as a Student Leader 2020. I will always treasure all the experience I had during the program and the amazing Student Leaders I met, because I know for sure that they will change our world.
Anything else you’d like people to know?
I’m co-leading these pressing topics as part of a group of other former Student Leaders from across the country at an Instagram account called @youth_initiative2020. We talk about current issues that are happening around the world to educate for a better tomorrow. Come follow us and join in the conversation!