My journey continues, even during a global pandemic 1My name is Destinie Hawkins, and I’m an intern at the Genesys Works National Office. I am from Toledo, Ohio, which is a small town with very few opportunities for people to thrive and accomplish their goals. Growing up I lived with my mother, who was a single parent, and my younger sister. In my earlier years my mother worked a lot to make sure we lived a good life! She even sent us to school on a different side of town than where we lived to ensure we would have a good education, including sending us to a private school.

A few years later, we moved to Houston, Texas. The first year was difficult because it was just my mom, my sister, and I. We got through it and now we sit back and laugh at the silly things we had to adjust to coming from a small town to a huge city! The reason behind the big move was for better opportunities in a city with much more to offer. My mother was ready to share what the world had to offer us.

A few months later I began high school. This was a very difficult time for me because I didn’t know where I would fit in. I was in a new city, new school, and no friends. I thought it would be good to explore different types of activities and clubs to meet with different people to get an idea of where I thought I’d fit in. I still didn’t feel complete… nothing felt right for me. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of school when I gained an interest in Genesys Works. I would see seniors signing out for work and coming to talk to our business teacher about work, but what was “work”? I had no idea until my teacher said, “This could be you guys during your senior year.” And she went on to explain the program and internship for Genesys Works. Right then and there I had an idea of something I was interested in, and I had to find a way to make it happen my senior year!

I can admit that getting into this program made me very anxious, but I was also very excited and prepared to begin the process that would eventually become a great opportunity. This had become my goal and I did just that. Skills training prepared me with all the tools needed to earn an internship and successful skills to use in the workplace. During training, I met amazing peers who were just like me. We all shared most of the same interests and goals and even formed a friendship and bond. We laughed, cried, and spent a lot of time together during our training sessions. After 8 weeks my summer came to an end but my internship had just begun.

Once I received confirmation of my internship, I was placed at the Genesys Works National Office as a marketing intern. This position allows me to help support the Marketing Department, and also allows me to become closer with GW staff, including my program coordinator!  I also learn a lot about the company and how we could help high school students and find ways to let people know about our awesome program! Not only do I get to work with my marketing strategies, but I also get to learn about IT, because marketing allows me to use many different technology platforms.

Now that I am halfway through my internship and almost finished with high school, there has been a world pandemic which has kept me from returning to school and finishing my senior year of high school and work. I am upset, scared, and heartbroken due to the fact that the most memorable parts of the year have been taken away from me with the blink of an eye! Prom is gone and graduation may be virtual or rescheduled. Working from home has been nice, but I really miss being in an office environment. I am keeping my head up through the midst of everything, though, and I’m trying different coping methods!

Genesys Works has given me a deeper understanding of what real-world work is like and has helped me prepare for college with resources such as College & Career Coaching. I am now more independent and have the knowledge and skills needed for college and for my future career. I plan to attend Prairie View A&M University next fall to study Business Management and minor in Marketing. I am thankful for my internship and the opportunities Genesys Works has given me. No matter what challenges I face in 2020 and beyond, I am confident that I will overcome it. This upcoming year I will reach the goals I have set for myself and not let time or anything else get in the way.

 

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About Genesys Works

Genesys Works provides pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experiences, and impactful relationships. Our program consists of 8 weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long corporate internship, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college.  Our goal is to move more students out of poverty and into professional careers, creating a more productive and diverse workforce in the process.  Since its founding in 2002, Genesys Works has grown to serve nearly 4,000 students annually in Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington’s National Capital Region.   To learn more, visit genesysworks.org.