Hyphen Co-editor Amelia Levin-Sheffield sat down with Alexandra Tien-Smith ’17 to discuss her internship with Invision Network Shelter in San Mateo.
Amelia Levin-Sheffield: What is your internship?
Alexandra Tien-Smith: I’m doing an internship at San Mateo’s Invision Shelter Network.
AL-S: Can you tell me a little bit about the program and what you’re doing there?
AT-S: I’m working in the children’s program there: I go a few times a week. The parents meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays; on those days I go in and talk and play with the kids. Two times a month, (so far I’ve done it once) I’m teaching a class. The classes are related to learning healthy practices. The one I taught last week was about soda and its unhealthy affects. We taught them how to choose healthier alternatives. We got seltzer water and brought lemonade and showed them they could make their own lemon soda; they didn’t need to buy coke. I know that having juice maybe isn’t healthy either but its healthier than having coke.
AL-S: What is your goal for the internship?
AT-S: I forgot to mention but Invision Shelter Network is for homeless families. They stay there for some time; once they get a job or can leave the shelter, then they leave. My goal is to try and teach the kids about health and their diet and how to prevent the flu or health related things. I’m hoping that after they leave the shelter they will still continue to think about the healthy practices we’ve taught them.
AL-S: Why did you choose this internship out of all the things you could have done.
AT-S: I have a relationship with them because I’m part of the Crystal Springs Chapter National Charity League; I’ve been volunteering there pretty often throughout the summers and during breaks; when I found out that I was going to do an internship, I decided that I would partner up with Invision Shelter Network since I already had a relationship with them. I just talked with their coordinator and now I’m going in weekly.
AL-S: Do you have a story or personal experience that has helped you to see the importance of the PPP program?
AT-S: I’ve had a lot of fun with the kids; I think talking to them and hearing their stories is really interesting: what had happened to them before. Some of their stories are really sad. One thing about teaching the classes is that I feel that I’m interacting with the kids. Last week when I did the class about soda, at the end I tried to give them instructions for what we had been doing that day. I gave them a recipe and some tea bag and things to help with healthy alternatives. It was really nice to see that all the kids were super excited; they really loved it. I felt that what I was doing was appreciated.