Seven high school juniors have been immersed in Trekkers’ SEED (Success through Employment and Educational Development) Program over the past several weeks. Each of the students has been placed in a 40-hour paid internship in the local business community. The participating organizations include Harbor Road Veterinary Hospital, Pen Bay Healthcare, Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County, RHEAL Day Spa, The Steel House and Tilbury House Publishers. The goal of these internships is to help students connect their developing interests and passions to real-world employment experiences. The SEED Program is made possible, in part, by a gift from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, Inc.
Laken Fournier, a Trekkers’ 11th grader at Oceanside High School, is currently an intern at the RHEAL Day Spa in Rockland. The RHEAL Day Spa provides self-care options for the whole family – facials, massage, manicures and pedicures. Their boutique carries the very finest in skin care and makeup products that are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free and they promote achieving beauty through a healthy lifestyle.
Speaking of the value of Trekkers’ SEED internship program, Rhonda Nordstrom, owner and aesthetician of the RHEAL Day Spa said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to utilize the Trekkers SEED Internship Program, and it’s a joy working with Laken. Getting to know her has opened my eyes to the scope of life-education Trekkers students come away with. This young woman is well-traveled because of Trekkers and now she’s a mentor to the younger kids getting started in the program. I find this so very rich. Laken came to us ready to work and understood her role with little direction, once trained in our systems. For this reason, plus she makes us laugh, we have offered Laken a permanent part-time position as spa assistant.”
Trekkers’ Principal Program Manager Emily Carver is coordinating the SEED internships. She remarked, “An amazing benefit to the SEED program, other than empowering youth to get clear on their professional goals before they are asked to declare them to the world, has been connecting to the generosity, patience and energy of the local business community. Our hope is the through the SEED program, the gap between the needs of the local business community for professional employees and the needs of the local youth for opportunity to learn will be slightly smaller—that the bridges we build now will lessen that gap and allow for movement in both directions.”
In April, the seven SEED students, along with their fellow 11th grade Trekkers, will be participating in a 10-day College/Career Exploration expedition. In that program, each student researches careers of interest and selects up to two institutions of higher learning that they want to visit during the expedition. At the end of the expedition, the students are equipped with a list of insights and personal preferences to help guide their post-secondary pursuits. At a time when they are focused on their future, the SEED internship program is a logical first step for informing the students’ college/career program.
For more information about these 11th grade programs, go to www.trekkers.org or contact the Trekkers office (207) 594-5095. Trekkers is a non-profit outdoor-based mentoring program that connects young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education. This year, Trekkers will serve more than 200 7th through 12th grade students from the communities of Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston.