Reflections on work with Groundwork Lawrence from Bank of America Student Leader, Liliana Almonte

Every year since 2004, Bank of America recognizes community minded high school juniors and seniors from across the country and gives them the opportunity to develop and apply leadership skills through hands-on community work experience. As a selected participant of the 2013 Bank of America Student Leaders program, I was awarded an 8-week paid summer internship with a local nonprofit organization. Furthermore, I represented Massachusetts in a Leadership Summit held in Washington, D.C. along with 4 other student leaders from the Boston area.

As for my 8-week internship, I was assigned to work with Groundwork Lawrence; a non-profit organization that focuses on the improvement and management of the physical environment. This summer, Groundwork partnered with other organizations such as the YMCA and BGC to introduce Urban Adventures; a nature-based day camp for children, ages 5-13. As a junior counselor for the YMCA Urban Adventures, I am responsible for curriculum planning, childcare, and full participation in outdoor activities.

More than just having a summer internship, I consider my position with Groundwork Lawrence one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. Besides being exposed to the natural environment, something that I won’t deny ever called my attention, I have had the opportunity to learn about the biodiversity of my city and enjoy the beautiful sites that surround me. Furthermore, I have had the privilege to work with an amazingly motivated group of people.

Right now, I’m on my sixth week of work. To say that I have enjoyed my time with Groundwork is an understatement. The impact the staff and the organization itself has made on me is indescribable. As the end of the summer approaches, I’m preparing myself to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Before the summer started, I was certain on majoring in Civil Engineering. However, after being part of the Urban Adventures program, I have decided to extend my career choice to Civil and Environmental Engineering with a minor in Computer Science.

Bank of America has graced me with such a wonderful opportunity. I remember what I wrote in one of my essays for the online application, “Before heading to college, I wish to encounter new experiences that can better prepare me for the outer world. Not only am I looking to improve myself personally, but I also desire to gain new qualities that can contribute to the new persona I want to create. I believe that the Student Leader Program will provide me with the necessary tools to meet my goals during the summer.” You may be wondering if I have accomplished my goals, and the answer is yes. This summer has proven to be a remarkable experience.