A Summer of Service at Families Empowered
09/14/2017 8:24:39 AM
Each summer, Families Empowered connects with thousands of waitlisted families from Houston, San Antonio and Austin with personal phone calls. Our Summer Call Center is an important part of the mission-driven work we do: helping Texan parents engage in the marketplace of schools.
We are able to offer personal support to families in need thanks to the dedication of our team of Communications Interns.
Rhodes College student Gustavo Mireles offers his reflection a summer of service as a Communications Intern with Families Empowered:
In early March, I decided that I was going to take a break this summer. I had worked all year long and felt that I deserved a break. My ideal summer plans quickly came to an end when my parents broke the bad news: I needed to get a job.
There’s some stigma around being “an intern.” I didn’t want to be treated badly by the full-time staff. I didn’t want to just make the coffee – I wanted to learn some new skills and make a difference – so I hadn’t really considered an internship. Then in April, I came across this opportunity at Families Empowered.
As a junior At Rhodes College majoring in education policy, I was interested in Families Empowered’s work because I thought it was a different approach to school choice. As a YES Prep alum who was on the waitlist, I was excited by the chance to help other families and students like me.
I’m thankful I found this opportunity, and I’m glad I took a chance on this internship. This summer has been one of the greatest summers I’ve had, not just because of the impact that I’ve made on different families, but also the great relationships I’ve created.
I think that the only way to actually enjoy what you’re doing is by surrounding yourself with people who truly believe in you.
I did not think that I was going to have the amount of support I’ve benefitted from this summer. Before applying to FE, I thought being an intern meant was going to be doing runs to Starbucks in the mornings and trips to Panera for lunch. However, what I do is nowhere near that. I’m actually learning from my supervisors. The best part is that I get to apply what I learn in the office
to my everyday life. For example, I’ve learned how to better communicate with different individuals.
The daily interactions with the parents we are calling has helped me see a couple problems with the education system. Right now, not enough parents are informed about schools. There are plenty of parents who don’t realize they have options. Many are just aware of their zoned school. Part of the reason I believe Families Empowered is such a great organization is because it’s helping parents learn about school choices. FE gives parents the tools and the support that they need in this complicated process.
In order to maximize the opportunities given to a child, there has to be a way to successfully communicate with parents. If the communication is not successfully structured, then parents won’t be able to know what is currently happening with their children’s education.
FE ensures that all of us, interns, are well equipped with the knowledge to successfully assist parents.
Having been on the waitlist myself, I know the struggle of not knowing what to do next. I would have loved to have had a helpful phone offering help when I faced the waitlist. My family went through the school choice process alone. I’m happy I get to be a part of the change happening in the system. I feel relieved knowing that with my work as a Communications Intern, parents are getting the support they need in this process.
I was fortunate enough to have gotten off the waitlist and into my first choice school. Sadly, not everyone has the same opportunity I had, and that’s why I am happy to help.