Synergy’s Youth Internship Program was the recent recipient of a bursary donation from Chestermere’s Lifepath Wellness. According to Coralee McIntosh, team leader with Synergy, the $500 bursary will help interns gain new experience as they move on to post-secondary education or further employment.
“This is the third year we’ve done this program, and each year looks a bit different depending on our organizational and funding needs,” McIntosh said. “This year, we’ve put out a bit of a call to the community for these bursaries to help support the youth volunteers that are helping us out.”
The role of Synergy’s interns is varied. According to McIntosh, the hardworking youth help facilitate many of Synergy’s summer programs – the Langdon drop-in program, SHOUT program, positive ticketing, the newly opened Chestermere drop-in program, and various other community events as needed.
“There’s not always a lot of opportunities for young people to work within a non-profit, so this is a great way for them to see what it’s like to work for this kind of organization and learn a variety of hands-on skills,” McIntosh said. “In the long term, this benefits them in a number of ways.”
The learning begins from the minute Synergy puts out a call for resumes, McIntosh said. Youth are required to put a resume together to apply for the internships, and each applicant is called for an interview – giving them valuable experience to carry with them as they pursue careers in the future.
“They learn how to communicate effectively, what it’s like to work in an office, and what it’s like to work in a community,” McIntosh said. “It’s a huge experience for a lot of the kids.”
This marks the third year Synergy has employed summer interns, and McIntosh said they have received positive feedback so far, from the participating youth as well as the rest of the community.
“It can be quite difficult for some of the grassroots organizations to take on their own interns or summer staff, so this is a chance for us to help them build capacity and take on bigger projects throughout the summer,” McIntosh said. “It’s such a great way to support the community.”
Now, Synergy is asking for help from the community in the form of donations to help fund their bursary program. Six youth interns have been working with Synergy throughout the summer, and McIntosh said she looks forward to helping them move onto their next adventures. Three bursaries will be awarded in honour of the Waiting Room Café, Paul Waite and Chestermere Lifepath Wellness.
“We really appreciate the help we get from businesses like Lifepath Wellness, who has been a longtime supporter of Synergy,” McIntosh said. “It really builds capacity for our program and gives us more opportunities to spread that capacity throughout the community.”