Both Bryan and Nila admit that things were OK—but not great—last year. As high school juniors entering their senior year, they weren’t sure how to translate their interests into a career plan. That’s when they heard about Rêve Academy, a nonprofit that prepares students for digital careers with free classes and paid internships. Nila explained,
“My teacher Brianne asked me if I wanted to sign up for the class and I said, ‘Uh, put me on the maybe list.’ A few days later, Brianne came to get me—again!—and said, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to sign up?’ I was like, ‘Just so you can leave me alone, I’m going to do it.’”
Along with a handful of other students, Nila and Bryan took the class and learned about human-centered design while building a website.
Soon after, they were invited to become interns at Rêve Academy and work on real-world projects with our Student-Run Businesses. To their surprise (but not ours), Bryan and Nila did an amazing job collaborating, leading, and learning. So in spring 2017, we promoted them to senior interns.
The Turning Point
Bryan said, “Things weren’t going so well at school…I wasn’t really caring. But that changed the more I got into Rêve Academy. I happened to be one of the shyest students, so climbing my way through Rêve and becoming one of the senior interns is a big change for me.”
Nila agreed, “Rêve Academy was my first job ever, and I didn’t know what I was coming into. I didn’t know what InDesign or Photoshop or all this stuff was. Even after two internships here, I thought I wasn’t ready when I was asked to become a senior intern. But of course, you guys boosted me up, you trusted me with it. So I thought, ‘OK, I’ll try it out.’”
Their Biggest Challenges
Bryan’s team is building digital content for the YMCA, while Nila’s team is conducting market research to find more clients for Student-Run Businesses. She said, “Planning the activities is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. You think you have enough work planned for a whole week, but they learn fast! Getting new clients also makes me feel nervous. But I think we can do it, because these guys are smart and they know how to get through things.” Bryan is also focused on his team’s success: “At first, I didn’t give as many explanations and give off the right energy, but now I think I’ve been doing a lot better. I want my team to have a lot of fun, genuine fun. My other challenge is having the team collaborate and put out ideas instead of me guiding them towards the ideas. I want them to be the loudest team in the room.”
What Comes Next?
Nila dreams of becoming a stylist, while Bryan plans on becoming an entrepreneur. When asked how this experience will affect their future, they said,
“I can see that not many other people my age have the same knowledge or hold the same skills. It’s going to get me further in life than I thought I would be.” – Bryan “Someday, I want to own my own boutique or be a stylist or something along those lines. I want to be my own boss and lead my team to success. Learning how to lead a team here will help me do that.” – Nila
Help Students Along Their Path
If you have a heart for students, we have a place for you.
Volunteer at Rêve Academy and help our interns as they work on real-world projects. Or show our kids what an ordinary day looks like for a working professional. There are lots of ways to get involved, so don’t be shy—we can’t wait to meet you!