The third annual Wanda Fullmore Internship Program concluded last week, with fifty youth residing in the City of Madison completing eight week summer internships with various City of Madison departments. For the second consecutive year, Common Wealth was chosen as the nonprofit partner to administer the internship program, increasing from 30 interns in 2015 to 50 in 2016. The internship concluded with a certificate ceremony, presentations by interns, and cake at the Madison Central Library on Friday, August 19, 2016.
The Wanda Fullmore Internship Program is designed to help underprivileged teens who are facing some sort of life barrier. It is an opportunity for them to learn about the possibility of working for city government. Wanda Fullmore was first hired by the City of Madison in the 1970s as an 18-year-old single mother during Mayor Paul Soglin’s first stint as mayor. She ended up working for the City of Madison for four decades for five different mayors.
The internship participants received a variety of experiences, including working in Mayor Paul Soglin’s office on expanding My Brother’s Keeper, a program designed to build opportunities for boys and young men of color, and establishing a Youth Council to provide feedback on issues affecting youth to City leaders and help coordinate plans of action. Other experiences included writing PSA’s and setting up for press conferences in the IT/Media department, working at stations and setting up for special events with Madison Fire Department, working with kids in Public Health to create more outdoor experiences, and interning in Engineering to learn how to survey storm damage and use various software packages.
“This internship program is all about employment and exposure: exposure for teenagers to realize things they may not have known even existed in our community,” said Tyson Jackson, Youth Employment Specialist at Common Wealth. “When our youth have success participating in this program in particular, it becomes easily translatable in other areas of their lives and more importantly their view of their own future, I would say that is the biggest draw for me. They can take this one achievement as a catapult for other achievements in life using the resources and references they’ve gained. Having someone tell them they’ve done great things is a huge confidence booster. This is what makes me want to continuously be part of this program.”
Brikny Ayala completed her summer internship at the Monona Terrace, and was able to experience things like setting up for a wedding for 408 people and attend a women’s leadership conference. The highlight of her summer was being the personal attendant for singer John Legend, who visited Madison to be part of an event with American Family Insurance.
“I liked working with a diverse group of people and in different departments at Monona Terrace,” Brikny said. “I enjoyed being present at events and learning about everything that happens at Monona Terrace. I felt very excited meeting John Legend, but had to maintain a calm, professional mode. It was very secretive. I couldn’t tell anyone that he was there.”
The Wanda Fullmore Summer Internship Program concluded on August 19, 2016. To see photos from the closing certificate ceremony provided by Kent Sweitzer, click here.