Friday, May 21, 2010

The Kids in America

Interns visiting Hofstra

Robert Meinke with student intern

I sometimes hear folks bemoan the state of affairs with the younger generation. As a person who sees teenagers on a daily basis, I can say that many teens today are amazingly prepared to help improve the world. In fact, after attending yesterday's Senior Network Conference at Hofstra University where I had four students, Alissa, Sofia, Evan, and Matt, present their senior year internships, I am more impressed with their preparedness than ever. Student after student showcased his or her ability to transition from school to the real world, oftentimes in philanthropic ways. The four students I brought shared their experiences-- from raising money for schools in Pakistan, to riding an ambulance, to working with the elderly, to visiting Chinese factories-- as part of culminating their high school career.
Earlier in the week, I visited another student intern Chris, who was working with an eco-friendly store, Greener Country, in Jericho NY. On the cutting edge of environmental issues, owner Robert Meinke mentored an intern as a way to give back to the community. This LEED certified store, which carries free trade accessories, recycled products and organic goods, is also a source for larger alternative energy systems for the home. Seen here is a solar powered hot water heater that is mounted to the roof, a sensible alternative to other water heating systems.
Closer to the homefront, Bouler Architecture's new intern Emma collected hair from local salons and shipped everything off to the Gulf to be used as natural fibers for shore-protecting booms.
Olivia's fundraising for the Gulf clean-up also continues, with drawings going out all across the country. Her project was featured as a cover story in today's Mobile Press-Register. With all of the weighty issues facing today's generation, it is a comfort to know that tomorrow's generation seems ready to get their hands dirty in solving them.

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