During The San Francisco Fall Show, we honored the work of our founder, Glady Thacher, with a special brunch and stunning views overlooking the Bay’s Golden Gate Bridge. Against this magical backdrop, Skye, a participant of Enterprise for Youth, gave a beautiful keynote on her experience with our organization in front of the Board of Directors and other attendees. Her speech touched on the impact Enterprise for Youth’s programs have had on her own professional aspirations and her passion to become a teacher. We are so grateful to Glady’s vision 50 years ago, which has allowed countless youth to have experiences like Skye’s as they embark upon their professional journeys! Read Skye’s speech below.
Good Afternoon! My name is Skye, and I’m a junior in High School.
I was born and raised in San Francisco. I’ve lived with my mom my whole life, and luckily, we’ve always been close. As a single mother, it was hard for her to work a full-time job and to raise an energetic child, so I spent a lot of time at my best friend’s house across the street from me. My mom, my best friend's mom, and my best friend have and will always be the people I look up to for everything. My mom graduated from Cal which is something that still impresses me. She now works in public health here in the city and even helped put the soda tax in place. My dad is a construction worker, I see him regularly but we don’t get along as well as I do with my mom. I have two half brothers on my dad's side who sadly live in Denver so I don’t see them as much as I’d like to either.
When it was time to go to High School, I wanted to go to [redacted] because I have working memory challenges and dyscalculia, which means I have a hard time memorizing and quickly remembering simple math and I have difficulties retaining information. In fourth grade, I realized that I had a harder time learning than other kids. My disability wasn’t identified by an adult until I was in 8th grade. When I learned I had a learning disability, I realized how much all my teachers helped and supported me and I thought maybe I could be a teacher. When I first heard about Enterprise it was during a Monday Morning Meeting at school, a time where announcements often go unheard, but, I listened. I was intrigued. I thought it was really amazing that this program would help me get a summer job and learn about the professional world. When I completed the workshops I was surprised but excited to learn I would be placed in an internship that had to do with education.
My first internship with Enterprise was after freshman year tutoring third-graders at 826 Valencia. Even though I always wanted to be a teacher, working with the students at 826 made me realize how much I really wanted to teach. There was one moment in particular that sparked this vision of my future. One of the students I was working with couldn’t speak and had difficulty hearing. By the end of my internship, we had figured out a system for communicating. I would show him two options on my hand and he would tap the hand with the option he wanted to focus on. He then used that choice to read, write, work on schoolwork or whatever other options he could choose from. Working with this young student helped me understand that teaching is not just about giving information to a student but making sure they understand it and supporting them when they don’t.
During my sophomore year, I got another job after school with Enterprise on the Youth Council. We planned a few events and focused mainly on community building. I didn’t know very many people on the council but by the end of our meetings, we all became really close. This helped me communicate better and it taught me how to express my needs and understand other people’s needs as well.
This past summer I was placed as an intern in supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office in City Hall. On my first day of the internship, I was walking around City Hall looking for the room number I was assigned. After a while I found it. Well, I thought I found it. After knocking on the door for a few minutes I tried opening the door. It was locked. A few seconds after I tried the knob, the door two doors down from where I was standing opened and all I heard was a man giggling and asking if I was Skye. I walked into Hillary Ronen's office, embarrassed, and began my work. There was work and busy people everywhere, but that didn’t stop my supervisor from bringing up how he watched me knock on a closet door for five minutes. He told this story to whoever listened. We listened and laughed every time. Every day, we laughed about something new.
I’ve learned so much from both of my internships and Youth Council especially respect and communication. These internships also helped me learn how to dress, talk and interact professionally in work settings. I am proud to be part of such a diverse and inclusive program.
Enterprise taught me how to create a warm and positive community for everyone I come in contact with. Through their internships, I learned that I can’t wait to be a teacher that my future students look up to. Just as Enterprise has done for me, I cannot wait to make an impact on a student's life and support them as they learn and grow.
In closing, I’d like to thank my mom, the entire Enterprise for Youth staff for putting in so much love, support, and hard work into creating such a beautiful safe space for students and for all of the people who invest in this program. Thank you all for coming and listening to my story.
To find out more, please visit: www.enterpriseforyouth.org