The internship that is preparing students to change the world

Bank of America’s Student Leaders program is changing lives
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Last summer, I was given the opportunity to participate in Bank of America’s Student Leaders program, alongside 300 other high school juniors and seniors. It was an eight-week, paid internship dedicated to connecting youth to training, tools and resources to help make our communities stronger.

As a 2021 Student Leader, I developed leadership and workforce skills by working at Mile High United Way. The program emphasized the importance of nonprofit work and civic engagement, and a highlight was the time I spent talking to other Student Leaders about the issues they were passionate about. It was energizing to be surrounded by so many young people who share my dedication to advocacy and creative problem solving.

Without access to opportunities to build career skills and earn a paycheck, many young people like myself may be left behind, leading to high rates of youth unemployment and hindering overall economic progress.

Through this program, I explored the possibility of a profession in the nonprofit sector and gained insight into the inner workings of an organization doing critical work. It has always been a dream of mine to run a nonprofit, but I never imagined that I would be able to talk to the CEO of one of the largest nonprofits in the city, let alone present a project to her. Previous Student Leaders have been inspired to pursue careers and employment at nonprofit and community organizations like City Year Denver and Habitat for Humanity after completing their Student Leader programs.

During my experience, I was particularly impressed with Mile High United Way’s “Bridging the Gap” program, which helps young adults who have aged out of the foster care system find stability. Listening to the incredible stories of the lives changed by the program reinvigorated my determination to make the world a more equitable place. I also enjoyed engaging in broader conversations focused on social justice, civil rights and how to build a more diverse and inclusive society. I felt like I was at the forefront of change and developed connections that will last a lifetime. 

This experience was truly transformative for me, clarifying my passion for social policy and nonprofit work as I enter college. I gained a network of knowledgeable adults to guide me and valuable experience in both the business and nonprofit worlds. 

I look forward to leveraging the experiences I gained and the lessons I learned as a Student Leader to become a future changemaker, advocate, and leader.

It is never too early to start thinking about paid summer internships and experience, which is why I encourage current high school juniors and seniors to apply to this great program. Bank of America is currently accepting student applications for its competitive 2022 Student Leaders program through January 28.

To apply to become a 2022 Student Leader, students must:

  • Currently be a junior or senior in high school
  • Be a student in good standing
  • Be able to participate in an eight-week paid internship at a local nonprofit organization and work 35 hours per week
  • Be legally authorized to work in the U.S. without sponsorship through the end of September 2022
  • Obtain a letter of recommendation from a teacher, guidance counselor, or school administrator

If you or someone you know wants to make a difference, you can learn more and apply online at www.bankofamerica.com/studentleaders.

Kalina Kulig Photo Kalina Kulig was a 2021 Denver Summer Student Leader.

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