ROSE Interns celebrate successful summer

Discover what some of the Lents Youth Initiative interns learned in the summer program offered by ROSE Community Development …

These outer East Portland interns, students at several of them students at David Douglas High School, share their experiences during the summer.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was a joyous occasion, the evening of September 17, when high school students from East Portland came to celebrate at the Pilgrim Lutheran Church hall.

These students, along with their family and friends, who gathered for the festivity, were involved in the “Lents Youth Initiative” program of ROSE Community Development Corporation, explained Project Manager Eden Radfarr.

Lents Youth Initiative Project Manager Eden Radfarr says the program’s goal is to help teenage youth gain leadership and career-building skills.

“It offers leadership and career development opportunities for high school age youth in East Portland,” Radfarr told East Portland News. “Then, we place participants – this year there were 13 of them – in summer internships with community organizations, where they usually serve about 100 hours during the summer months doing various kinds of community projects that have environmental and social benefits.

“Tonight is all about celebrating the work that they’ve done over the summer, sharing with community members what it is that we’ve accomplished,” Radfarr added.

Cleveland High School student, and Lents Youth Initiative intern, Gabija Laskonyte says she enjoyed working with little kids.

Cleveland High School junior Gabija Laskonyte said she learned about the program when handed a flyer in her chemistry class.

“During the school year, I attended their series of classes every Saturday afternoon,” Laskonyte said. “At the end of the year, we interviewed for internship positions, and I was assigned to Leach Botanical Garden.”

Twice a week for eight weeks, Laskonyte said she went to the garden, and helped with maintenance work. “And, the most fun was helping out with, and then leading little ones, during their ‘Honeybee Hikes’ on Wednesday mornings. I was probably the most fun.”

Partly because she’s “really into nature”, and also for the job experience, “this was just kind of a good experience for me, overall,” Laskonyte said.

A senior attending Franklin High School at Marshall Campus, Lily Sponsler spent her summer interning with the Parks Bureau.

It was in a history class at Franklin High School that senior Lily Sponsler said she learned about the program.

“My internship was with Portland Parks & Recreation; we were out doing stewardship things like cutting down weeds, and maintaining native plants in natural area parks,” Sponsler said.

The highlight of her experience for her, she reflected, “Was amphibian service; we spent the whole day catching frogs. That was super fun.”

In addition to having “a positive impact on environment”, Sponsler said the work experience and responsibilities helped her understand how things would be when she gets a job after her schooling is completed.

“This is a good program that I’d recommend to those who enjoy helping out, learning more about life and work, and helping with the environment,” Sponsler added.

During the program, Radfarr said their interns, placed seven different community organizations, took part in activities such as caring for natural restoration areas, surveying community members about area improvements, making media, and doing environmental education.

“I think one figure is that we’ve cared for more than 3,000 native trees and plants of the summer,” Radfarr said.

With that, dinner was served, and the students continued celebrating the success of their summer adventures.

Information regarding this program is available at their webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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