CSI students and Staten Island not-for-profit organizations will benefit from $25,000 in funding from Northfield Bank Foundation. The funds will sustain a program to provide stipends for CSI students with financial need who intern at various not-for-profit agencies in the borough.
The Northfield Internship Program is offered through CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center, and has been funded for three consecutive years by Northfield Bank and the CSI Foundation. The program offers internship opportunities to students who are traditionally unable to participate in non-paid internships, with preference given to those with financial need. It provides students with the ability to gain experience and explore their field of interest while helping them to develop new skills through experiential learning.
The program also serves a tremendous service to the community, by placing the students in not-for-profit agencies throughout the borough whose budgets do not allow for much support staff. The interns are carefully placed to ensure that they match the specific intern job description provided by the selected not-for-profit sites.
Lucille Chazanoff, treasurer of the board of directors for the Northfield Bank Foundation, notes, “This is a wonderful program. It brings new employees-young people and possible future contributors-to those organizations, so it’s just a win-win for everyone.”
CSI President Tomás Morales, says, “I really appreciate that the Northfield Bank Foundation was willing to provide us with its support. My vision, and the vision of many of us here-the staff and faculty-is to create opportunities for our students to give back to the community, and to align those experiences with their curriculum.”
Many CSI students express interest in participating in an internship because of the great rewards it provides, such as developing contacts and job-relevant skills, while these students are still in college. The program provides qualified students with the opportunity to intern and develop strong skills, while being paid a $1,000 stipend. This program eliminates the difficult choice between finding paid employment to offset personal expenses or participating in a career-related educational experience.
CSI students Sharon Daniel and Raquel Brown participated in the program last summer. Daniel, who interned at the Seaman’s Society working with youth, comments “I learned a lot from the youth; they were very broadminded, eager to learn, and just wanted to know what lies ahead of them. It was a privilege to represent the College of Staten Island to be there and be a part of their lives and it also inspired me to go out there in the future and work with the youth in our community.”
Brown, who worked with AIDS patients at Community Health Action, says, “For me, it was a very rewarding experience…and it really influenced me in the [career] direction that I wanted to go.
To participate in the program, students must have completed 24 credits, have a GPA of 3.0 or better, and submit an essay on how an internship would help them to achieve their career goals. Selected students must work a total of 60 hours for the organization to which they are sent. Upon completion of the internship, students must complete an evaluation of their internship experience, submit an essay that describes their internship experience, and receive an overall “satisfactory” rating from their employer.
With the $25,000 grant, 25 students will be placed in internships at not-for-profit organizations including Community Health Action, Eden II Community Resources, Seaman’s Society for Children and Families, Staten Island Center for Independent Living, and Staten Island Mental Health Society.
Looking to the future, President Morales wants to establish “a center for community service learning that would provide an opportunity for faculty to engage in some cost redesign work where students, as part of a course, would go out and do community service. At the same time,” Morales continues, “a structure would be created where a professional staff would go out and negotiate those placements with non-profit organizations on Staten Island and beyond.”