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Behind the Scenes of a YouthBuild Internship with Richard Cook

Nov 14, 2019 | General News

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Richard Cook was the YouthBuild Troy program (in partnership with the SEAT Center) intern this past summer. He started in June and worked throughout the summer. Richard graduated from Bryant and Stratton in August. The internship was part of his course requirements for his degree in criminal justice.  His long-term goal is to become a juvenile probation officer, or to find a career path that aligns with the work similar to YouthBuild. He’d love to someday open his own nonprofit dedicated to helping single parents go back to school, and keep youth off of the streets.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I came from that disadvantageous youth background. I made some poor choices, but I’ve reset that and now YouthBuild has allowed me the opportunity to give back to the community.

I have an 11-year-old son and an 18-year-old son, and would like to find a better balance with work and life to spend more time with my family. This internship helped me see some other potential options out there.

For the past three or four years I’ve worked as a substance abuse counselor in the evenings and weekends, and gone to school during the day.

How did you find out about YouthBuild and CEO?

I found out about CEO’s YouthBuild program through the Bryant and Stratton mock interviews. One of CEO’s HR staff was conducting interviews and found out about my interest in youth probation, and suggested an internship with CEO instead of with probation. I was excited about the opportunity and jumped at the chance to work with the youth.

What was the day-to-day of your internship like?

I’m from Schenectady, and commuted to Troy to the internships on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9am to 2pm.

I would help with administrative work, and recruitment. I might have helped fill out interest surveys, sit down with clients one on one for intake, or fax information to the SEAT Center. Sometimes I’d help with paperwork for applicants since we are between cycles and are actively recruiting for the fall cycle. I’d also help students from the previous cycle with court appointments, student loan information, and more.

As a substance abuse counselor by night, it was incredibly rewarding to have a chance to step up and support clients in a new way, and a way that really helped them take the next successful step in their lives.

What did you like most about the internship?

It was great to learn about YouthBuild and the ways that the program helps youth. It was a whole other avenue I wasn’t aware of, and it gave me a lot of satisfaction to be a part of it

I liked being able to show the students another option besides being in the streets. I’m all for doing the right thing and not the wrong thing. I made poor choices, I’ve since course corrected, and now that I’m a parent myself with children that are YouthBuild age, I want to give back to the community. There is no better organization out there that offers the same kind of possibilities: construction, EMT, culinary, and more. I want to offer those choices to the youth so they have no other option but to move forward.

Seeing a YouthBuild member come in with their paperwork to enroll after having been recruited on the streets is incredibly rewarding.

Interested in learning more about the YouthBuild program and potentially joining a cycle? Contact us! 

Interested in volunteering? Contact us!

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