Hi, my name is Colleen Au. I’m a senior undergraduate student at Rutgers, studying Social Work with minors in English and Psychology. As part of my academic curriculum this year, I’ve been interning at the Youth Empowerment Services (YES).
Why did you want to intern at YES?
Even before this internship, I had heard about YES and wanted to get involved. In fact, last spring I started volunteering as a tutor once a week. I was impressed with how much YES accomplishes for students and for the community. From talking to other tutors and previous interns, this experience inspired me to pursue an internship in the fall.
What are some of your duties at YES and what have you learned since being here?
I’ve had the privilege of creating curriculum for the educational workshops we host on Friday, implementing lessons and games for those workshops, and tutoring during Community After-School Tutoring (CAST) throughout the week. I also worked with the other interns to develop a psychosocial assessment so that we could better understand the needs of the students. Being a part of YES has given me the chance to impact the lives of these students while learning so much from them too.
What are your plans after interning?
I’ve just been accepted to the graduate program at Rutgers for a Masters in Social Work, so I will be continuing to develop my skills to impact the community around me. I want to continue to work with youth and families.
What do you like to do in your free time?
When I’m not at YES or in classes for my final year of undergrad, you might find me baking cookies at home or out in nature for a hike. I am always looking forward to coffee dates with friends or planning my next theme party.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to the kids at YES?
I would encourage students to keep trying. No matter how difficult things get within school or at home, the tutors at YES can remind them of how much they can achieve. To quote Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh, "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."