Enrichment and internships for a high-schooler in Rochester, NY.
March 12, 2012 4:34 PM   Subscribe

My younger brother, a high-school sophomore, is asking about internships and other interesting opportunities for people his age in Rochester, NY.

My younger brother is academically unremarkable. He has few or no adult role models. He is reluctant to talk to adults, even when he needs help. For example, it's been difficult to get him to work with his school counselor.

He seems to have few hobbies beyond videogames and socializing, plays no sports, is not a member of any extracurricular clubs. He has no technical skills (e.g., not handy with computers, not a great problem-solver) and not much sticktoitiveness. He hasn't held any part-time jobs, although, to be fair, it sounds like there are few in his immediate area (a sparsely populated suburb with mostly family restaurants), especially given his limited transportation options.

He's being raised by a cash-strapped single parent, so paid enrichment, group travel, and study abroad are likely to be an insurmountable challenge. My own ability to contribute financially is also limited (nor do I live anywhere near them). He has no relatives who can provide leads.

He's asked a couple times about colleges, and I've mentioned the value of being an interesting applicant. I also think that it'd be great for him to get out of the apartment and be around interesting people doing interesting things.

What I think he might find useful:
  • formal internship opportunities that target high-school students
  • exploratory, enrichment, and development programs for young adults
  • shadowing and mentoring programs
  • nonprofits and charities that can work with unskilled teenage volunteers
Please be as specific as possible in your answers. Suggestions of "try volunteering!" or "check with a local university!" are not likely to be helpful: I'm not in a good position to find a placement for him, and his own ability to make arrangements is pretty nonexistent.
posted by Nomyte to Education (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Youth Training Academy (http://www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=8589936058) looks like it'd be right up his alley if he technically lives in the city proper; even if not, I bet that office would be a good resource for you to call and see if there are similar programs around.
posted by verbyournouns at 5:12 PM on March 12, 2012

I'm a college student in Rochester. It's a little hard to give specific advice without knowing what your brother is interested in. Does he have (academic/political/cultural) interests?

It sounds like you're saying he's a little unmotivated, so this might not be the most helpful advice for him, but I've found that, as a student (specifically one who is interested in medicine, though I imagine it's at least a little similar in other fields), all you have to do is ask. If he can come up with 10 people who work in Rochester that he thinks might be interesting to shadow and he emails all of them, I would bet that at least 5 would be more than happy to have him.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 6:18 PM on March 12, 2012

If I knew that, the question would be easy. But he's just a regular high school kid. He's not politically aware, doesn't seem to care about news from the world at large, doesn't have defined interests in the arts and sciences. Having known him all his life, all I can come up with is that he likes videogames, anime, manga, chatting with friends, and riding around on his longboard.
posted by Nomyte at 6:49 PM on March 12, 2012

When I was 16, I was interested in guitars, so I called all the guitar repair places to ask if they'd consider me as an apprentice. I got two "apprenticeships" out of it, one paid, one not, and I had a lot of fun. I got to handle and play really Wow rare guitars, and I got to learn to fix my own guitar.

Your brother could certainly do the same at a skateboard shop. All it takes is asking, and being willing. I had dropped out/flunked out of high-school by 16, so it wasn't as if anyone required me to be a young achiever to consider me for this.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 6:59 PM on March 12, 2012

Your brother could certainly do the same at a skateboard shop. All it takes is asking, and being willing.

Going this route, Krudco is a locally owned skateboard shop. He could try giving them a call.

There's also the Roc City Skate Park ("Together with the City of Rochester’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Human Services, as well as the New York State Department of Transportation, the Citizens Planning Group is working to build and maintain a skatepark for skateboarders and BMX riders. The Roc City Park (RCP) will be a world-class, public cement skate park located in the heart of the city of Rochester.")

Which suburb is he in, if I may ask? Some suburbs are more bus-friendly and bike-friendly than others.
posted by Lucinda at 7:35 PM on March 12, 2012

Perfect age to apply for student management training at McD's, BK, or Wendy's. He can learn right off the starting post whether that is for him or not, and all of us no doubt agree that everyone should have to do food service for a time just to learn how to be human beings. Encourage him to check it out now, May will be way too late.

It may also motivate him to buckle down for the next two years, and work on a scholarship.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 8:00 PM on March 12, 2012

Which suburb is he in, if I may ask?

The Rochester side of Penfield.
posted by Nomyte at 8:08 PM on March 12, 2012

He might take part in the Hillside Work Scholarship Connection.

Having a cash-strapped single parent might qualify him as "at-risk".
posted by vitabellosi at 8:31 PM on March 12, 2012

Eastman House is a superb photography museum in Rochester that may take interns or volunteers. Photography is an easy art to appreciate; checking out the museum may kindle an interest for him.
posted by gentian at 10:38 PM on March 12, 2012

There's a program called New Visions that he might be able to get into for his senior year. If he's hoping to go to college and he can sort-of narrow down his desired field of study, New Visions will help him be an awesome candidate. The categories they offer are education professions; health professions; justice professions; and "emerging" which is basically the catch-all "anything else" category. The program requires something like 50 hours of volunteer time (they help you find a suitable place to volunteer if you need it) and 50 hours of internship observing or working with someone in your field (again, they'll assist in finding someone to intern with if you need it).

Your brother would also spend time every week taking class at a college campus (they went to SUNY Brockport when I was in the program ten years ago), which will give him a taste of college life. I really appreciated the freedom the program gave me to plan my own time, and I actually felt like I went into teaching with my eyes open a little wider than many of my college classmates (but not enough to keep me there - I don't teach anymore, so maybe take that with a grain of salt).

I know several people who went through the medical and justice professions and are still practicing in those fields. Memail me if you want any more information.
posted by SeedStitch at 6:05 AM on March 13, 2012

Update: my younger brother didn't end up doing anything listed here.
posted by Nomyte at 2:32 PM on December 31, 2012

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