DMARC Summer Interns Gain Skills and Give Back

This article first appeared in the Aug/Sep/Oct 2019 issue of The Voice.

Over the past few years, DMARC has enjoyed the privilege of hosting high school interns to assist our warehouse team with daily operations while developing life and job skills.

This summer we welcomed students from the Animal Sciences and Horticulture program at Des Moines Public Schools’ Central Campus and the Summer Youth Experience Program (SYEP) through the Evelyn K. Davis Center, two programs focused on matching youth with workforce training that helps meet their educational and professional goals.

stacked produce binsDespite having no prior knowledge of DMARC’s programs, our three summer interns jumped into the dynamic warehouse routine with enthusiasm, open minds, and a spirit of fun (in one instance stacking empty produce bins in a 10-foot tall pyramid as a joke on their supervisor, John).

Daily responsibilities were often physically strenuous—loading and unloading delivery trucks, cleaning storage areas, stacking pallets, preparing partner food pantry orders, and more—but they didn’t shy away from the challenge.

“I know that I’ve been helping the people in my community who are in need of food.”

Janely and Emily, both Central Campus students, were drawn to DMARC’s mission of meeting basic needs, and felt that their internship allowed them to give back by connecting people with resources.

“Being at DMARC, I know that I’ve been helping the people in my community who are in need of food,” said Emily. “I’ve been on the Mobile [Food Pantry] and just seeing the people being so grateful because of what we do lets me know that I’m doing something good.”

Working in an ever-changing environment and taking charge of a large inventory project also provided valuable opportunities for Janely to face some of her personal challenges head-on.

“This internship has helped me grow more by being more independent and being a problem solver,” said Janely. “Those are qualities that I have struggled with and this internship has helped me develop those qualities more.” She plans to apply her newfound skills in Science Bound during the upcoming school year.

“It all taught me to help people.”

JamiahJamiah joined SYEP after a few of his friends went through the training.

“From what I heard about it,” he said, “it sounded like a fantastic learning experience that I wanted to be a part of.”

He soon found himself enjoying the pick up and delivery routes alongside David and Craig, two of DMARC’s drivers, and credits the warehouse team with making his internship worthwhile.

“DMARC taught me so much, [and so did] the people bringing carts full of food to donate,” said Jamiah. “It all taught me to help people.”

He hopes to continue volunteering and is considering working in a warehouse someday.

By hosting interns through invaluable programs like SYEP and Central Campus, DMARC is able to contribute to our community in a vital way: by empowering youth with the knowledge and competencies they need to become capable students and employees, as well as advocates for social change, including food insecurity.

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