Meet PYD participant, Ben P.! Ben completed his internship with Wheelock Family Theater this summer, making him our first in-person intern since before the pandemic began. By interning for Wheelock, Ben hoped to learn what it’s like to work in a theater, build experience and responsibilities outside of performing, gain skills that could be used in future employment, and practice self-advocacy.
He had the opportunity to help manage the office and backstage, including completing social media work and graphic design, helping prepare the office for a renovation, conducting community outreach for upcoming auditions, and much more. Out of these specific responsibilities, Ben was able to learn self-advocacy by asking his supervisor if he could help with social media, practice professional communication by letting his supervisor know when he needed to change his hours for his last shift, and build leadership skills to potentially become a teacher.
When asked about how his internship was different than expected, Ben said, “I thought the assignments would be impossible and too hard for me to do, but once I was at my first shift and started working, I felt supported and capable!”
Ben’s confidence and feeling of belonging is exactly what we aim to achieve through all of our programs at PYD. Check out this interview we conducted with him about this internship and overall experience.
What was your favorite part about your internship?
Being in the office. I was most comfortable with that.
Has this experience impacted what types of jobs you’d look for this summer or long-term? Why/why not?
I’ve done this type of labor before I started working through my prior life experience. I also realized that the last thing I want is a career that’s going to be full-time in an office! I might try more backstage work this coming year.
Was there anything about the job duties or internship that surprised you or felt new?
I thought the tasks would be impossible. I doubted myself and my abilities and worried that I wasn’t good enough. However, I learned during my first shift that these are things I CAN do!
What are 3 short-term jobs you’d feel comfortable applying for right now?
Working in retail, being a server, and gardening.
What are 3 jobs that seem interesting but make you feel like you couldn’t do them?
1) Architecture – I think architecture is really cool. My dad is an architect. His drawings seem cool. He designs apartments and condos and is a part of my town’s Preservation Commission, where he preserves historical buildings and homes.
2) Fashion designer – I like the idea of being creative and creating something new. I used to follow magazines and was really interested in fashion.
3) Songwriter – I try to write songs currently and have been practicing for a few years now. I wrote a song in 8th grade for guitar class.
What are some of your workplace strengths that you’ve learned that you can use as transferable skills?
I’m a fast learner, I work hard, and I pay attention to details.
Based on your resume workbook, what are other adjectives that describe your work abilities/strengths?
I’m open minded and kind, I take orders, I use my hands, and I anticipate needs. I also accept responsibilities, meet deadlines, have a desire to learn and improve, solve problems, act as a team player, manage inventory (art supply organizing), and take risks.
We couldn’t be more proud of Ben and all of the hard work he has put into his internship over the past few months and are especially thankful for Wheelock’s participation in our Career Readiness Program, helping to address barriers to employment via a three-tiered curriculum involving academic learning, real-world experiences, and mentoring. Not only did Wheelock provide Ben with a valuable experience that will set him up for future success in his career but they also are an example to other organizations of the importance of hiring people of all abilities and making the workplace a more inclusive environment.
Are you a company or organization looking to partner with us through this program? Working with our youth provides them with the opportunity to learn about various careers and occasionally try out skills to further their career exploration. Empowering them to find a career with purpose furthers PYD’s mission to create a world where youth with disabilities reach their full potential while also providing companies with talented, hardworking, eager-to-learn candidates.