A Final Goodbye to Summer Interns

Our summer interns have completed their internships.  It’s a bittersweet time for us, as we relish the experiences that have occurred and say goodbye to those we have grown close to over the summer.  The blog post below is from Intern Mercedez Hernandez, and summarizes perfectly all we feel as internships draw to a close.
Kiwanis-Club-Sign As my summer comes to a close, I begin to reflect on the memories and experiences that I’ve had during my time working as a Nutrition Education Intern for the High Plains Food Bank.

My summer kicked off with a phenomenal training week at the HPFB Garden with my supervisor. I found a new love for labor work because of the feelings of productivity that it provided. I watched as a normal eight-hour day was transformed into a time surrounded by nature, and good honest work kept me preoccupied. By the end of the week, I had a newfound confidence in Gardening.

However, I would soon transition to the Maverick Boys and Girls Club where I would begin my Nutrition Education programs. For the first time, I was taking a ride in a teacher’s footsteps by creating lesson plans for the week. Every day, I saw grade levels Kindergarten through 8thgrade, and every day, I learned new ways to improve my programs. Although I was not a natural “extrovert” to begin with, I consistently progressed each day into a successful mentor who was capable of teaching and enjoying the time with the kids.

As I spent more and more time with my group, called the Garden Club, I realized a common theme among them. These kids not only required a Nutrition Education, but also attention, praise, and love. They thrived on positivity and I was eager to give it to them.

There were some days however, where I questioned if my presence and lessons made an impact on them. I left some days feeling discouraged that I would not be able to help them all. Yet the next day, as if someone had heard my discouragement, a young mind would come up and greet me with a hug, telling me how much they enjoyed Garden Club. They would go on to say how they taught a younger brother/sister, or even a parent about what they learned in our class. These small smiles and acts of kindness gave me the energy to lead these programs to the best of my ability.

Another aspect I enjoyed about this internship was the abundance of opportunities for critical-thinking. Often I came across obstacles that required critical-thinking skills galore. As a future physician, I was determined to exercise my ability to critical-think, and my supervisor gave me the freedom to solve my own problems (of which I am very thankful for). One obstacle worth mentioning was lacking an initiative for the kids.  However with some digging around, I discovered a jewel at the Maverick called a “Maverick Buck” which allowed kids to collect these for good behavior and make purchases at the Maverick Store full of goodies. To my delight, the kids were extra good and attentive to earn this small prize.

If you were to allow me, I would go on for quite some time explaining how much I enjoyed my time at the High Plains Food Bank Garden and Maverick Boys and Girls Club. Through this internship, I was able to work with two different organizations that supplied a hand in fostering my growth. All in all, I want to say a very big thank you to both of these organizations for allowing me the opportunity to work with these kids. Although I am attempting to not get overly emotional, I just want to express how much I love these kids and hope that they continue growing their hearts and minds. Some might forget me, but I will never forget them.

Thank you all for following me in my journey this summer. I wish you nothing but the best.

As always, God Bless.

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