Leveraging the Power of Internships, Part 3

By the time I was 18, I already had years of experience working at my family’s business. I never needed to go look for a job because I already had several: cleaning rooms in my parents’ motel, pumping gas at their Mobil station, stocking shelves or ringing the cash register in the country store, and waiting tables in the restaurant.

Fast-forward 26 years…. As a homeschool mom, the idea of internships for my kids never occurred to until after my oldest had already graduated. Was it too late for her to benefit from an internship?

In previous blog posts I detailed how my 12-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son were able to supplement their education and be a blessing to others through internships. Given both of those successes, it seemed natural to seek out similar opportunities for my 18-year-old daughter as well.

Building confidence in an 18-year-old homeschool grad

In August 2016, we graduated our first homeschooler! My oldest daughter, Rebekah, loves to draw, enjoys working with kids, and is adept at using technology. After graduation she did not wish to go to college immediately, so we encouraged her to start looking for a job. After filling out multiple job applications and interviewing repeatedly, she still could not find a job. A big part of the reason is probably her lack of experience.

By February I began looking for internship opportunities for her. Because she has always enjoyed working with kids and has helped out with Awana at a local church for years, I asked the church preschool director if my daughter could help out to gain some work experience. The director readily agreed, and Rebekah volunteered several days a week for the remainder of the school year.

She learned valuable office skills like filing, making copies, and collating papers. She enjoyed supervising kids during the “Lunch Bunch” hour. She cleaned toys, helped decorate bulletin boards, and ran the PowerPoint slides for the end of the year program.

When the school year was over, we prayed about Rebekah’s next step. God directed us to approach a church member who runs his own asphalt & concrete business. I wanted to know: Is there anything my daughter could do to help out and gain some work experience? He immediately delegated the task to his 20-something daughter who took Rebekah out on some “cold calls” where they made a record of concrete or asphalt that needed repair and then approached business owners to make an offer for the job. My daughter learned to shake hands like a pro and speak with confidence. Before long she was initiating more conversations with people when we were out and about.

While I wish I had pursued internships for Rebekah when she was younger, I am glad she was able to take advantage of them to gain valuable experience and build her confidence. Even though working with people on a daily basis is not her preference, she has gained the skills she will need to succeed in such situations. These skills will serve her well in the future no matter what avenue she ultimately pursues.

Have you considered internships for your kids? Tell me what skills your homeschooled teen could develop and bless others with through an internship.