It takes a village to raise a child” – African Proverb
At URU, we take our role as “village elders” seriously and we’re committed to enriching the lives of young people by helping them imagine and attain a brighter future.
We call them our babies and we hold them tight from the moment they are introduced to us, throughout their high school, college, and graduate school years … and beyond.
In addition to our educational outreach programs, our marquis “village” initiative is a paid internship to at least two high school and college students each year. Since 1995, more than 30 students have successfully completed the internship program and two-thirds of those former interns are already college grads and on their way to achieving (what used to be) unimaginable heights in their careers.
“We hold our babies” – Crystal R. Emery, URU Founder & CEO
The social, emotional and financial needs of the children with whom URU interacts – both through its urban educational outreach efforts and its internship program – are very different than those of their suburban contemporaries, particularly upon entering college. Many urban youngsters find themselves playing “social catch up” as college freshmen. They need a reliable support mechanism, a familiar “voice,” to help them navigate this new terrain, particularly if they are minorities on a predominately white campus.
This is especially true when new students begin to take technical courses at the collegiate level: in particular, the requisite sciences and mathematics. Early struggles in these areas can quickly derail an anxious, insecure new college student, quickly leaving him or her behind. This is one way in which URU “holds them tight”: by not letting them take on a schedule designed to fail and intervening before they fall behind academically.
We understand that it takes more than the financial support of a paid internship to achieve academic success in higher education, and the transition from high school to college can be difficult. URU helps smooth this transition for our interns by:
- Giving them consistent love and support
- Helping them create schedules and plan out their academic year in advance
- Aiding them in making positive, conscious, judicious choices about their fields of study
- Helping them assess and understand their personal and academic strengths and identify opportunities for improvement
- Encouraging them to interact with fellow students and their families during parent and homecoming weekends to help them integrate socially within their academic setting (We reach out to our extensive network to find active alumni of their respective colleges to connect with our interns)
- Supporting them in seeking out academic assistance, including tutoring centers, study groups and library facilities
- Interfacing and interacting with their academic advisors if conflicts or issues arise
- Teaching them to ask thoughtful questions
- Familiarizing them with appropriate and effective college classroom protocol
- Helping them identify and apply for academic internships
- Following up with them regularly via email and telephone
- Becoming parents “in abstentia,” when necessary
- Giving them “tough love”
We hold our babies tight by setting them up for success and intervening before their college journey and academic future is in jeopardy.
Our former URU student interns who have already graduated college have been extremely successful, both in academics and in their career paths. When they stumbled during their college years, URU was there to help them pick themselves up and get back on track. This ongoing support is an important predictor of future success; so much so that URU is offering funders the opportunity to endow scholarships for qualified, deserving students that come through the URU internship program.
For more information on how you can support our internship program, please contact us directly.