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PENCIL’S Summer Programs: Delivering on our promise to #SaveTheirSummers

This year, as PENCIL was preparing to plan for its 25th anniversary, our world rapidly shifted in the course of a few days. Our team began working remote starting March 27th and immediately moved to update our programming.

The cancellation of the Summer Youth Employment Program and the forfeiture of jobs and internships in an economic downturn caused us to reflect and reevaluate our programming. For the next few months, our team worked tirelessly to secure paid work experiences for our students who needed it more than ever. PENCIL promised to #SaveTheirSummers, and with new partners and resources, we made it happen.

The Internship Program

PENCIL placed 85 interns this summer, all of whom are working remotely. Our interns were placed in positions at companies like DTCC, Bloomberg, Bank Street College, Teach For America and more.

“I am super duper excited that I received an internship because I felt like it was a Godsend,” said Paola Hernandez, who is interning at NYU Wasserman Center.

“Because a lot of people are losing their jobs, are being laid off, and relying on unemployment benefits. For me to have even gotten this internship, it just feels great,” she added.

Each intern is completing at least 100 hours of remote work and providing employers with support for critical functions such as marketing, program development, content creation, and financial management.

Career Explorer Program

Our Career Explorers program engaged 46 high school and college participants. The program is a paid work-based learning experience that includes mentoring by business volunteers from around the city.

Students work on capstone projects that range in industries like Real Estate, Law, Community Service, Finance and more. Their mentors are representative of their capstone focus areas.

Nicholas Sinclar, 16, a junior in Aviation High School is working on a capstone project called Community Intervention. “My main goal is to become a pilot, Nicholas said. “My mentor shares resources with me, and we have similar hobbies like soccer and music. His field of work is also aviation, so it’s a perfect match.”

Career Explorers would not have been possible without the support of our generous sponsors: Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Watch here: Career Explorer, Nicholas Sinclair’s Journey 

New Visions Summer Career Exploration Program

PENCIL supported students from across four New Visions Charter Schools. Developed in close collaboration with New Visions for Public Schools, the program enabled students to attend career panels and workshops designed to introduce new career paths and build career readiness skills.

Over the four-week program, students earned hours and complete tasks that can be applied to graduation requirements.

“New Visions was very pleased to partner with PENCIL this summer to launch our Career Exploration Pilot Program that served over 80 students across our charter network,” said Jennie Soler-McIntosh, VP Community Engagement and Postsecondary Pathways.

“PENCIL leveraged its expertise in working with schools and its relationships with the business community to provide our students invaluable access to an extended social network and opportunities to participate in weekly career panels and workshops, develop their resumes, practice interviewing skills and develop career plans that will inform their postsecondary plans. We received very positive feedback from our students and look forward to building on this partnership with PENCIL in support of our schools this coming year.”

Summer Youth Employment Program Summer Bridge

PENCIL is also serving 126 students through the Department of Youth and Community Development’s Summer Bridge program, a work-based learning experience designed to provide youth with career development opportunities.

PENCIL has also partnered with the YES Coalition, a group of youth serving organizations working to support SYEP providers. As part of this group, PENCIL has made a series of career panels as well as elements of our project based learning available to other SYEP providers.

“After serving a record number of students during the summer of 2019, PENCIL was excited to see what was possible this year to connect even more students to success. But in April, our team was faced with numerous challenges to harness these possibilities. In the spring I thought we would be lucky to serve 60 maybe 70 students this summer,” explains PENCIL’s VP & Chief Strategy Officer, Jessica Bynoe.

“Instead, we are privileged to be ending the summer having worked with over 350 brilliant young people. If not for the hard work of our team, the belief of our supporters, and the innovation and flexibility of our partners we would never have delivered on our promise and potential. We are looking forward to what the summer of 2021 holds for our talented students!”

PENCIL’s Virtual Programs Still Connect Students To Success

As PENCIL turns 25 this year, we are looking back at all we have achieved and overcome. Yes, times are challenging, but the outpouring of love and support we received from the PENCIL community has made it easier for us to face this roadblock head-on.

More than ever, it is critical for PENCIL students to continue interactions with diverse role models and develop skills that can support their success in the world that emerges from this crisis.

As one teacher shared when we told them about PENCIL’s plan to launch virtual programs: “I just want to say how grateful I am for all of the communities that have nurtured our most vulnerable students. Our collaboration with PENCIL has been a game-changer for so many students.”

If you haven’t already, please do take this opportunity to donate. These donations will directly support our ability to respond to the needs of our community and facilitate our response plan.

Importantly, we want you to know that PENCIL’s mission continues!


Open-source Programs for Students

PENCIL is delivering live online workshops and career panels at appointed times every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with volunteers from a variety of industries. Open to all students from our partner schools, these sessions fill a gap in instruction and provide access to corporate volunteers that teachers need and cannot achieve alone.

Maintaining Scheduled School Partnerships 

PENCIL is facilitating, planning meetings, and making curriculum adjustments with business partners and school staff to re-launch their scheduled sessions virtually.

Offering Flexible Virtual Internship Training

PENCIL is providing virtual opportunities for internship students to participate in training workshops, career panels, and one-on-one interview practice with corporate volunteers. We are still actively placing students in summer internships for both anticipated on-site and virtual placements.

Supporting Principals with Access to Executive Mentors

During a regular school year, PENCIL organizes Principal For A Day® in the spring, where corporate executives visit schools to learn from a principal, interact with students and offer peer mentorship. With in-person visits canceled, PENCIL is organizing several webinars and one on one coaching opportunities for executives to share perspectives on critical virtual management tools and techniques while learning from principals about the new reality of education.

We hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. To stay up-to-date with PENCIL’s journey and network with the PENCIL community, stay connected with us on LinkedIn or our other social channels. Together, we will continue connecting students to success.

From Courts to Classes: Justice Richter’s Commitment to Education Equity

This year, PENCIL is virtually honoring the Partnership between Justice Richter and the High School for Law, Advocacy, and Community Justice (LACJHS) with the Veteran Partnership Award. Justice Rosalyn H. Richter  is one of the nation’s earliest out LGBTQ+ appellate judges who has a stellar record in advocating for inclusion and greater civility.

She spearheaded the mandatory Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias requirements for members of the New York Bar. She also recently won the  Dan Bradley Award, National LGBT Bar Association’s highest honor, for her incredible work in the field.

The goal of PENCIL’s partnership program between Justice Richter and LACJHS is to expand the students’ exposure to careers in law. Through a mock appellate court project, students in Ms. Christine Fryer’s 10th grade History class develop problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills.

Students with Justice Richter during mock appellate court sessions
We spoke to Justice Richter about her commitment to PENCIL and the students we serve at the High School for Law, Advocacy, and Community Justice.

When did you start working with PENCIL?

So, it was at least five years ago. I heard about the Principal for A Day program a couple of years before that and was thrilled, but I only got involved with LACJHS through the PENCIL partnership about five years ago.

Are there any student interactions you remember in particular?

I have three!

The first that comes to my mind is a student who contacted me and said that he wanted to become a prosecutor. He was a young man of color like most students at LACJHS and said that he had never really thought about becoming a prosecutor before the externship.

He said he had a completely different view of the role than what it really was. He was motivated to try and get better grades to qualify for a college scholarship, and he did! I don’t know if he still wants to be a prosecutor but it stayed with me because this kind of exposure makes students think — not just about being a prosecutor — but about the range of opportunities that maybe they’ve never heard of before.

Wow. That’s a great example of a PENCIL success story. You said you had three stories, right?

Yes. A few years ago, I met a student who identified as non-binary and queer. We had a speaker come and talk about the legal issues around gender and sexual orientation in part because Ms. Fryer (the teacher at LACJHS who supports the PENCIL partnerships) said several students in the school were trying to figure out their identity and that really stuck with me.

The fact that the school, PENCIL, and the teacher all recognized the need for this is essential and quite moving honestly. It was vital for me to help them understand the role of the legal system in protecting individual rights. So it’s not just about someone’s identity but helping them see how the larger society fits into this and to talk to them about tolerance.

That is something I would want to learn about too. Let’s hear your third story. Can’t wait.

We speak about human rights issues from a legal perspective at times. Several students share their experiences with stereotypes around their race or religion and how they feel they’re discriminated against because people make assumptions. Not too long ago, a young Muslim student spoke about how people perceived her differently because she wears a hijab. And it was just very moving to me that students can make connections between complex issues through personal experiences.

Have recent tragedies shaped those discussions in any way?

The work that we’ve been doing these past two weeks is trying to figure out where “pain” fits in our discussions. I think having Ms. Thomas who is our partner staff person at PENCIL and who is a woman of color, was really helpful this semester as the students journeyed through their struggles around race and color since I’m not a person of color.

I think, you know, that was really meaningful to me to be able to have someone who has experienced what students are struggling with and to provide a platform also for them to share and hear adults talking about these issues.

Both, myself as a person who is White and Ms.Thomas as a woman of color having a constructive conversation around race can be something the students can model in their interactions. It helps them with the question “How do you talk about these things with people who are different than you?”

So that was about this week’s class which is related to my next question: How has virtual volunteering been different from volunteering on-site?

So some of the students don’t have a space of their own to study in or work. They’re working in small quarters. That’s something I have observed volunteering virtually — the different challenges because you can see the disparities visually.

On the other hand, I’ve seen students conquering technology and learning quickly. But some students don’t want to turn on their video cameras, and I guess because they’re self-conscious about how they appear on the screen and also concerned about their background and spaces they occupy.

In our PENCIL sessions, we have talked about video etiquette; we have really been encouraging them to learn how to navigate this and how to talk on video because that may be the future.

Is there something you wish you could do more for the kids?

Provide them with more financial resources or technology. It just seems to me, and it’s a follow-up to what we’ve been talking about a lot recently that they (public school students) just don’t have, you know, the technology that maybe some of us take for granted.

Even good internet connections. All of that, I think is really challenging. It’s not something that I could do for them alone, but if I could, I think that would be extremely helpful.

I also wish we could send young people to work this summer like every other summer.

PENCIL is still placing students in virtual internships, but we are also encouraging partner companies to get involved.

So, my last question is: what is one advice you have for students currently in High School dealing with all that is happening?

I think it’s don’t be distracted. I know we are going through a public health crisis and life crisis but try to keep your focus on your school and the future. This year, I did see and acknowledge that some students just got so overwhelmed by what was going on that they weren’t able to focus.

Especially with academics, try as hard as you can to do well. Life presents its challenges, but when you are young, it’s hard to see past it. Young people live in the moment. But soon they are going to want to go to college and if they didn’t do their schoolwork, they might regret it.

Rashida Thomas, our program manager who nominated Justice Richter also shared her thoughts:

Justice Richter has lent continuous support to this partnership toward the students at LACJ being able to meet the goals of developing awareness and skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and communication. This year students were guided in dissecting case law with guidance from Justice Richter and her team which included Justice Ellen Gesmer and students from New York Law School. When the partnership transitioned to a virtual format, discussions were held on legal statutes as well as current events. Justice Richter’s dedication to enhancing the education of students through experiential exercises has been apparent from the outset and persisted through each partnership interaction. Because of her personal investment, the partnership has been successful and of great value to students.

If I can do it, so can you

I’ll be candid here; I struggled to pen these words. Success in life involves the situations you get yourself into and the people you meet. No one can be successful by themselves. It requires you to build relationships with people who want to see the best in you.

The right situations will scare you because they will require you to step out of your comfort zone. I was a young Black boy from Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York, who decided to leave the neighborhood. I wasn’t comfortable with leaving my family, but I needed a change after my best friend was murdered on Christmas eve during my junior year of high school. I was only 16 and utterly heartbroken.

Luckily for me, I was involved with an organization that showed me what life could be. You all have it too; it was PENCIL.

At PENCIL, it meant the world to me to look over the city and inside those tall midtown Manhattan skyscrapers. I met the head of PENCIL at the time, a woman named Iris.

Iris told each of us that we could be professionals in medical, banking, and legal fields, or anything for that matter. Where I come from, we didn’t think like that. There was no way corporate America would let Black folks in.

We didn’t see any of those jobs in our future. But I knew otherwise. I had seen otherwise. I was going to show my family and Brooklyn that it was possible.

I decided to go away to small school in a place far away from home, in a a predominantly white city: Plattsburgh, New York. There I met openly conservative people for the first time in my life. I thought I would not fit in, and I didn’t.

I stood out! I made friends in the classroom first. It didn’t dawn on me until my half-Black-half-Asian roommate said: “wow, you’re helping all those white guys with economics. You must be kind of smart.” I think I was.

I allowed myself to grow in that place, spoke with professors after class, challenged conservatives to understand why they saw the world the way they did, and share what life was like outside of what they knew. Plus, believe it or not, most people get along when you lead with honey.

While at Plattsburgh, I grew as a person. I met so many kinds of people. I was terrified of being five hours away from Brooklyn, the only home I had known, but I had to change, or better yet evolve and grow. I built great relationships in college and held on to those I had before college.

After college, I started my career in Private Wealth Management at Ayco, a Goldman Sachs company, followed by MUFG, The Bank of Tokyo and then, through networking,I landed at Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley. The corporate culture was more inviting than what I thought it would be. Or maybe I was already prepared for it by working and living with different people during my time at college. Here’s the truth: corporate America is not diverse. Some people will read that and get discouraged, but I say don’t. Show them that you belong and you are capable, because you do, and you are!

As we celebrate Juneteenth, I sit back and think about what life would be had I decided not to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I know medical doctors, lawyers, bankers, principals and a whole suite of black professionals. We all had our collective and individual struggles, but we all agreed that if we had to do it over, we would.

I encourage you all to see yourself in those professions where you want to be one day and do the work to get there because it’s not a matter of if, but when.

-Asher Kennedy,

Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley

PENCIL’s Commitment to Fight Racial Injustice in Our Community And Our World

To our PENCIL Family,

We are devastated and outraged as we mourn the tragic loss of Mr. George Floyd, who is among only the most recent of so many innocent victims of ignorance and senseless violence.

We stand in solidarity with the Black and Brown community in the fight against systemic racial injustice.

And never have we been more committed to our mission to bring equity of opportunity to the young people of our city, especially Black and Brown communities that are disproportionately affected by this inequity.

For 25 years, PENCIL has served students in the NYC public school system who today are overwhelmingly working class or low-income and identify as Black and Brown. Every day, we see how systemic racism has severely limited access to opportunity for these students.

PENCIL’s mission is to connect students to success and close this opportunity gap. We do this by building partnerships that bring together business professionals and students from across NYC. In doing so, our work is designed to Open Eyes, Open Minds, and Open Doors for both the students and the business community—two groups that do not often share the same economic, cultural, or societal experiences.

Our work has never been more important. And it has never been more important to do our work well. We find ourselves in a unique position to challenge ourselves and our partners to examine and enhance our collective efforts to provide Black and Brown students with the mentorship, skills, and opportunities necessary for success.

To do that, we are encouraging conversations about racism, privilege, equity, and injustice with our PENCIL team, so we can actively listen and learn how to do our work better. We are reevaluating our programming to ensure we are explicitly and effectively increasing opportunity for Black and Brown students and creating safe spaces to navigate conversations of injustice and inequity with our partners.

We are using our upcoming Principal For A Day® webinar as a forum to discuss how schools, students, and staff members are coping and addressing these topics. And we are redoubling our commitment to help open more eyes to the lived experiences of our Black and Brown students with the hope that more business partners will join us to open more doors for these students to walk through.

Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting people of color and those who come from economically challenged backgrounds. Recent events have made clear that returning to “normal” is not an option. Together, we must stand in unity, raise our voice, and do our part to fight for a more just and equitable world.

Gregg Betheil,
President, PENCIL

Christopher B. Hayward
Board Chair, PENCIL

Community Bank in North Dakota: NYC Non-Profit’s Best Bet During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected most businesses throughout the country. As non-essential activities shut across the United States, Congress launched the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to keep small businesses and nonprofits afloat. But to submit a claim for the loan was extremely complicated and getting a place in line before the SBA funding ran out meant there were no guarantees.

PENCIL’s journey, like most small businesses in New York City, involved a lot of ups and downs, and some assistance from a community bank in Fargo, North Dakota.

When the first phase of the initial $349 billion funding began on April 3, PENCIL immediately reached out to its bank: JP Morgan Chase. Little did our team know that many other small business customers were doing the same thing.

Within six minutes of the application portal opening, JP Morgan Chase had already received nearly 100,000 applications.

In total, JP Morgan Chase had received approximately 300,000 applications and only had the capacity to process around 30,000 before the money ran out. After anxiously waiting for days to receive updates from the bank, PENCIL’s President, Gregg Betheil, finally got a notification that the application was far back in line for submission.

Adopting a modern-day solution, Gregg resorted to Twitter:

“@ChaseforBiz How do I withdraw PPP application you haven’t processed?” he tweeted.

Just a few hours later, JP Morgan Chase began sending out emails, notifying its customers to apply to other lenders on fears of funds running out.

“Your application is still in Stage 2, with an extremely large volume of applications ahead of yours,” the bank’s email read, “we wanted to give you this information so that you can decide if you would like to try applying with another lender.”

Chase Business Banking was overwhelmed by the unexpected demand, and while they were able to help tens of thousands of other businesses in the first round, they were clear that they might not get to PENCIL.

Gregg’s biggest worry, like most small business owners and heads of nonprofits, was supporting PENCIL’s team of 21 staff members and being able to advance PENCIL’s mission. The PPP was expected to help PENCIL advance its mission to serve NYC students, even as the pandemic was causing the cancellation of fundraising events which drove PENCIL’s revenue.

To get an application into the SBA, Gregg spent the next few days contacting every financial institution he could think of from Morgan Stanley to Paypal, to online lenders like Kabbage, and more.

But the PPP’s initial $349 billion allotments dried up just after 14 days.

“We reached out to all the financial institutions where we had relationships, but they were so overwhelmed that we didn’t hear back. The lines were busy; emails went unanswered.”

Shifting gears, Gregg asked Marilyn Fogarty, PENCIL’s VP of Finance & Administration: “What is the most remote place we can think of that would have a bank?

They settled on Fargo, North Dakota.

Gregg and Marilyn surfed several webpages before they came across the website for VISIONBank, which said they were “founded on a very simple and decisive way of doing business – “Getting it Done” in every aspect by providing the best in banking products and services while delivering responsively and finishing well.”

“In the moment, getting our PPP application done was all that mattered. But what really stood out to me was their focus on relationships. We talk about the power of relationships to create opportunities all the time at PENCIL,” Gregg said.

A locally owned bank, VISIONBank in Fargo, ND works closely with many nonprofits, and its President, Dan Carey, is a Trustee for the Alex Stern Family Foundation that has provided grants totaling over $16,000,000 to numerous nonprofits since its inception.

Additionally, Dan chairs the Impact Foundation, a public foundation that was founded by Dakota Medical Foundation and Alex Stern Family Foundation to serve nonprofits in North Dakota.

Impact Foundation, along with Dakota Medical Foundation and the Alex Stern Family Foundation are co-hosts of Giving Hearts Day, a 24 hour giving day that has raised over $90,000,000 for regional charities over the course of 12 years with the most recent campaign raising $19,100,000 on Feb.13, 2020. Gregg saw shared values and started the application process.

“Marilyn and I, working remotely through Microsoft Teams, gathered all the required paperwork and applied through their online portal. I was surprised and encouraged when I got an email notification 15 minutes later that the application materials had been downloaded by VISIONBank’s staff,” Gregg said.

“I imagined they’d be a little surprised to get an application all the way from New York City, so quickly sent an email to some of the staff listed on their website to introduce myself, PENCIL’s mission, and how we’d found our way to Fargo and VISIONBank.”

To Gregg’s surprise, VISIONBANK’s President, Dan Carey, called him at 4:30 pm the same day. “First and foremost we have focused our efforts on taking care of our clients. I called Gregg one evening because I was surprised and curious that we had received the application and I wanted to hear more from the president of this nonprofit because I work with a number of nonprofits in our state.”

Meanwhile, the Paycheck Protection Program had already received an additional $310 billion infusion, enabling phase II of the loan grants, for which applications were going to open on April 20.

“After reviewing the website for PENCIL and reading the story, going through the list of board members and talking to Gregg, I was very impressed with the mission and I felt strongly that they needed someone to advocate for them and assist them with a PPP application to keep their team in place during this critical time.”

On the Friday before April 20, Gregg was informed that PENCIL’s application was ready to be submitted when the portal reopens on Monday for the second round of funding.

“If we are lucky enough to get approved, I’ll certainly have a story to tell and a lot of people to thank,” Gregg wrote on LinkedIn.

A total of $60 billion was set aside for smaller lenders like VISIONBank to make sure they could get their customers a fair share of the PPP funds while the bigger banks processed volume transactions.

But on Monday, the first day of phase II, the Small Business Administration PPP application site crashed. The system, known as E-Tran, would not allow bankers to enter loan application information that was needed for small businesses to access the program.

“Dan and Natalie at VISIONBank told us we would be among the first applications they submitted when the SBA portal opened at 9:00 am. But three hours had passed. Knowing how much pent up demand there was, we started to get nervous that we may have missed out again,” Gregg said.

At noon Gregg got an email. VISIONBank had secured a loan guarantee for PENCIL.

“Knowing we had secured the funding to keep our staff working was a huge relief and allowed us to focus on our mission: connecting students to success in New York City. Through virtual career panels, mentoring sessions, and work to reimagine our summer internship program, we convey to students just how important relationships are to their future success.”

While proceeds of the PPP loan arrived in PENCIL’s account on May 8, that is just the beginning of the relationship the team is planning on developing with Dan and VISIONBank’s team.

“We’ll be working with them this summer to process the loan forgiveness, once the SBA releases guidance, and placing some of our modest reserves at VISIONBank for safe keeping,” Gregg said.

“Perhaps PENCIL can bring our signature program, Principal For A Day® to Fargo when the current restrictions are lifted, and thank our new friends in person.”

Why Paid Internships Are More Important During A Pandemic Than Ever

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the economy. As adults around the world began to grapple with a changing job sector and record-high rates of unemployment claims, students were left to wonder if paid internships would become a sidelined topic. Then, just around a month ago, Mayor de Blasio announced the cancellation of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) citing health and safety concerns.

SYEP places 14 to 24-year-old New Yorkers in summer jobs across the public and private sectors. On April 8, city officials told program providers that they would not reimburse any expenses incurred after the given the date.

The announcement forced companies to cancel thousands of jobs and internships, affecting 75,000 students who were counting on the program to gain social and financial capital this summer.

At a time like this when New York State has confirmed more cases than any country outside the U.S., families are struggling to afford daily expenses, and students stranded at home are desperate to help in any way they can.

“The paid internship helped me see that my work has value. But also my parents couldn’t pay for a lot of things like books or transportation,” said Yamile Pacheco Cueva, a former PENCIL part-time intern and now a full-time employee.

“I needed to go to school every day; I was commuting so it was like a very good help for me. It was either that or walking to school,” she said.

Like Ms. Cueva, many others in New York City’s public school system, are first-generation students. While there are many benefits to internships during high school years, first-gen students use this opportunity to develop the professional connections that they might not have access to through their parents or immediate family.

Read More about the Challenges Public School Students Are Currently Facing

The business organizations that PENCIL works with help create an equitable career development system where people from all economic and social backgrounds get equal opportunities to succeed.

There is still an opportunity gap that companies can fill, especially as the city is decreasing resources available to pay students.

According to a report released by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) in 2014, 52% of graduates receiving job offers before graduation held internships. Still, a staggering 46.5% of those internships were unpaid.

Unpaid internships prove costly, quite literally, for students who choose to pursue one. According to a cost analysis by CNBC, an unpaid summer internship at an expensive city like New York could cost the student as much as $12,986. Additionally, a survey by the NACE indicates paid internships also often result in getting more future job offers and higher salaries down the line.

“Paid internships are critical for students to gain experience, social capital and income. That is why PENCIL is dedicated to placing hundreds of students a year in high-quality, career-facing internships,” said Jessica Bynoe, PENCIL’s VP and Chief Strategy Officer.

Paid internships help students from low-income families set off expenses that may otherwise put a strain on the family. The money helps them save for college, pay off student loans, and contribute to the household income.

“Unfortunately, this year, PENCIL may not be able to support the same number of students we usually do. When the city cancelled SYEP, they took away the resources necessary to pay summer interns a fair minimum wage.”

PENCIL has already trained hundreds of students to prepare for an internship this summer. It is committed to continuing this support by offering flexible, virtual internship training and creating nontraditional summer remote internship and work experiences for as many students as possible.

“We have already placed 50 students in remote internships and are actively raising funds to support more students in paid positions. On Giving Tuesday Now, we launched the #SaveTheirSummers campaign where individuals can donate to this critical need. So far we have raised $10,000 and plan to keep the campaign open till end of June,” Jessica said.

Money raised from the campaign will directly fund summer internships for PENCIL’s students.

“I am really interested and hopeful to be able to gain further business practical skills this summer,” Jocelyn Tang, a freshman at Cornell University and a former PENCIL intern said.

Last year, Ms. Tang pursued a summer internship at Heike NY, but this year she might not be able to get the same opportunity.

“I cannot stress enough how important paid internships are for students like Jocelyn. As a first-gen student myself I know how internships lead to skill development and a sense of belonging in a professional setting,” Jessica said.

“I can attribute my entire career and the knowledge to navigate my industry to my first internship nearly 20 years ago.”