Ian and Michael: Overcoming Adversities

With the support of caring people like you – EXP’s Internship Program helps students like Ian and Michael explore careers and builds a talent pipeline for tomorrow’s jobs.

Working long hours after school just so your family can pay the rent adds to the pressure of being a teenager. For students like Ian, growing up with the stress of economic hardship in an underserved neighborhood, where all around you people are just trying to survive, can often be overwhelming.

“I’ve faced a lot of adversities in high school,” said Ian. “My mother is in prison and I was just barely beginning to cope with it as I entered my high school years. I could’ve been doing anything with my life at that point. A large percentage of kids would’ve just given up, started acting out and, even worse, gotten involved with the wrong crowd. I could have given up on high school. But my EXP mentors inspired me to make something of myself. EXP has given me opportunities I never could have reached on my own. Now I know a bigger future is possible for me.”

We are proud to share that Ian is graduating from Carson High School this month. He credits his EXP internship with helping him get accepted to college on a full scholarship.

 
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“I could have given up on high school. But my EXP mentors inspired me to make something of myself. EXP has given me opportunities I never could have reached on my own. Now I know a bigger future is possible for me.”

Ian with colleague Jazmin

 

This summer, a record 167 students are enrolled in EXP’s Internship Program. Each one will be matched with an employer and embark on a six-week experience that will transform their lives.

With EXP’s guidance, the students have written their first resumés, learned how to dress for success and nervously prepared for interviews. Now they eagerly await meeting their supervisors and gaining hands-on experience that will unlock access to college and a world of career opportunities many hadn’t dreamed were possible just a year ago.

Michael, another EXP student from Carson High School, was very nervous about his internship experience. He dreaded talking to adults and was still experiencing culture shock having coming to the U.S. a year earlier. He said the thought of giving presentations made his skin crawl.

But with EXP’s support, and encouragement from Michael’s teacher and school counselor, he showed up to the job-skills workshops and earned a summer internship placement.

And then Michael’s world changed.

“Being pushed out of my comfort zone helped me see that lots of successful adults went through the same things I’m going through,” said Michael.

 

Watch Michael’s story

 

“My internship helped me learn about accounting, finance and real estate. Now I’m hooked on pursuing finance as a career, and I have great software skills. I got an adrenaline rush from learning how to build my professional network and practicing business communication skills. When my senior year started in the fall, I signed up for a leadership program and to be a peer counselor. Now I have confidence!

“Thanks to EXP, I found mentors, gained work experience and received encouragement to apply for scholarships. This fall I’ll be entering the honors program at college. I want every kid at my school to have these opportunities.”

Caring people like you make these opportunities possible.

With your generous support, more than 6,400 high school students can participate in EXP programs to gain the skills and confidence they need to overcome obstacles and make the most of every opportunity.

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