Seeking migrant or seasonal head start participants who are current college students to intern in Washington D.C.
GritoBlast! — Five migrant/seasonal farmworker college students will be selected to live and work in D.C. for an intensive eight-week internship and professional mentoring program. The goal is to provide life-altering experiences and networks to help students make the intellectual, cognitive, and emotional transition from agricultural life to that of a professional.
Instead of youth working in the fields harvesting fruits or vegetables in the sweltering summer heat, they will live with host families, be placed in positions from the Department of Agriculture or the National Education Association, to the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, or Farmworker Justice. They will all be overseen by the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association.
The goal of Migrant Seasonal Head Start is to prepare children to enter school ready to learn. Born 49 years ago from a desire to remove as many obstacles to academic success as possible, President Johnson created Head Start in 1965, as part of his War on Poverty. This year, President Obama reaffirmed the value of Head Start by providing 8.8 billon dollars to extend Head Start opportunities to our nation’s vulnerable children. This internship is a capstone to those investments.
“Migrant farmworker children have the highest school dropout rate, ranging from 45 to 60 percent, of any group in America. Our interns overcome almost insurmountable odds to graduate from high school then attend and graduate college. It is our obligation to recognize leadership and fortitude in younger generations and to help maximize their potential,” states Cleo Rodriguez Jr., Executive Director, NMSHSA.
“Entering our fourth program year, the impact of this internship is becoming apparent. For example, two are applying to law school, one was recognized by her university for outstanding leadership, and yet another has a professional job in Washington DC. All four of these graduates plan to use their careers to give back to their beloved migrant and seasonal farmworker communities.” Says Robert Crumley, who has helped since the beginning.
The selected farmworker students must be former Migrant/Seasonal Head Start children (There are three populations served by Head Start programs: income eligible children through Regional Head Start, Native American Head Start, and Migrant/Seasonal Head Start.), be enrolled in college, and come from a family that is, or has, worked the agricultural fields of America.
Selected students are those who will benefit the greatest from the provided opportunities. Our paid internship offers: stipends, on-the-job training, networking opportunities, professional skills development, leadership development and personal/professional mentoring from consummate D.C. professionals, many of whom are also former farm workers.
Entering the fourth program year, we already count great success as donations and sponsorships have increased to double the possible number of interns, and previous participants have earned yearlong fellowships, and continued toward both master and PhD’s.
2015 applications are available at nmshsaonline.org and are due no later than 5 pm PST on January 16, 2015.
Featured Photo: Yonny Castillo, past migrant farm intern at the White House.