In recent months, the Oceanside Chamber has had the honor of partnering with numerous community organizations in support of the Oceanside Promise’s Latino Young Men Success Initiative Pilot Program.
The Initiative was launched in late 2018 in order to rally the community to provide additional supports and opportunities for some of our community’s most vulnerable youth. The program is multifaceted, providing the young men support in developing a multi-year plan for college, career, and life success. They participate in weekly sessions focused on three core questions: Who Am I? Where Am I Going? And How Do I Get There? A key component of the pilot is to surround the young men with mentors and role models who reflect their culture and background and have high expectations for their futures.
To maximize the experience of the program, community partners committed to finding paid summer internships for any of the students that desired one. As a result, a total of 11 young men were provided with a work-based learning opportunity this past summer. Five of the internships were paid for by the host sites and the remaining six were made possible by sponsorships from Frontwave Credit Union, The Oceanside Chamber Foundation, Tri-City Medical Center, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, FedEx Ground and the Oceanside Charitable Foundation.
The internship sites include: The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency, Primerica, City of Oceanside Fleet Services, North County Lifeline, Fagen, Feldman & Fulfrost, the Oceanside Museum of Art, and KOCT.
Citli Mejia, Visitor Services & Community Engagement Coordinator at the Oceanside Museum of Art shared feedback from an employer’s perspective. "Gustavo Cader joined Oceanside Museum of Art's team as an exhibitions and education intern. With the help of the Oceanside Promise partnership we were able to offer a paid internship experience. OMA's staff offered an exciting customized internship based on Gustavo's interests that also worked to meet the museum's needs.”
She added that the Museum staff shared their knowledge and expertise with Gustavo in preparing and installing exhibitions, and how OMA engages with the community through art.
Gustavo spoke enthusiastically of his experience as an intern, “Thanks to OMA I was able to gain experience in a field I knew nothing about. They helped me grow over the summer and get to know my community. I am thankful for the internship and for all the people who made this possible."
Gilbert Hernandez, an El Camino High School student who interned at the HHSA, shared his thoughts. “My experience with the Health and Humane Services Agency helped me develop and grow fundamentals within myself. That will help me grow and prosper as an individual in the work force, as well as opening new ways of seeing individuals. This internship also helped me develop strengths for my future career of a therapist.”
Lifelong community member, Jimmy Figueroa who represents Oceanside Promise and Vista Community Clinic has played an instrumental role in the pilot program, coordinating the mentorship element. “The internship opportunities, experiences, and relationships that our young men established this summer were invaluable to their career and life aspirations. Yes, the internships provided professional development, but the investment of someone believing in them by providing them with these opportunities shows them that they are valued and that they are capable to succeed in these professional environments. Our students completed their internship roles believing that they can flourish in these spaces and that belief that they now embody is what made these experiences invaluable.”
As the pilot program grows, the Chamber plans to seek funding to provide additional internships next summer.