As an organization, we have the unique privilege of walking with East St. Louis youth on their journey to adulthood. Along the way, the R3 team wears many hats for our youth. While technically R3 is their employer, we also serve as counselors and teachers, father and mother-figures, mentors and friends, trainers and coaches. Simply put, we are champions of hope and possibility for youth who are eager to know that they matter!
This past week, we were able to wear all of those hats, and more, for 18 youth during our Spring Break 40-hour Internship. During a week where many kids take full advantage of this time off to sit at home, watch TV and play video games, R3 interns chose to invest in themselves and their future, all while earning a paycheck.
During the week, our youth were immersed in a culture of love and grace, as they learned work skills while rehabbing a property in their community. We stress things like quality work and performance as important metrics of any successful employee, but our intent is that those metrics never become the ultimate definition of success. In fact, we believe and teach that it's in knowing one's value in the eyes of God that a person will actually be motivated to work hard, no matter what job is being performed.
Take a look at our "internship by the numbers" as well as some of the feedback we received from our youth.
Spring Internship by the numbers:
5 days / 40 hours
18 youth (ages 15-18)
675 hours of paid youth job training
162 hours of construction training
100 cumulative hours of critical thinking math curriculum
$4205 in youth wages earned
$900 in youth performance bonuses earned
500 volunteer hours (teachers, mentors, meals, etc.)
"How are you different because of your experience with R3?"
"I'm more confident."
"I learned how to communicate way more."
"I learned how to become better at working on houses."
"I learned leadership."
"I am different because I was able to spend time with my friends and learn new things."
"I was able to have fun but learn about hard work."
"I have a better understanding of my relationship with God."
"I got comfortable being social."
"I learned how to better work with a team."
"I really learned to be empathetic."
"I'm better at communicating with others."
"I am a much better leader than I was before I joined R3."
"I learned how to advocate for myself."
"I have grown more as a person and developed new skills I can use in the near future."
"I started opening up to Bible study."
"I start opening up to people."
The Spring Internship was truly an impactful week, and we are extremely encouraged by our youth's progress. I'm proud of our students and thankful to each of you who continue to pray and support R3 in countless ways!