Meet Maria, UI’s Intern Extraordinaire

Maria, our wonderful intern from Urban Alliances’ career and college preparedness program just won the “Intern of the Week” award, and we couldn’t agree more!

Urban Initiatives partners with Urban Alliance to provide quality internship opportunities for high school seniors across the city. Maria comes to us from Farragut High School, in the Little Village community. Monday through Thursday she spends half the day at school and then commutes to the office via CTA.

Maria has been working hard on tracking our Take the Lead Team Captains as they complete huddles and challenges, earning badges in teamwork, respect and task persistence. She has also been entering progress reports and report cards into our database to make sure we intervene early if a captain’s GPA drops below our program standards. Her incredible attention to detail and speed at entering Take the Lead data caught the eye of the Program Evaluation manager, and now she’s been recruited to help calculate Body Mass Index for all Work to Play and Take the Lead students by using their age, sex, height and weight. After just a few weeks of working in Salesforce, our database, Maria became an expert, and now helps us find inconsistencies in data entry from the field, and cross-reference our participants’ registration packets to ensure we have the most updated contact information saved in the system.. Maria has saved both the Take the Lead and Program Evaluation managers countless hours in office work, and we’ve had more time to get out to our schools despite expanding to three more schools this spring.

Maria recently expressed interest in seeing our programs in action, so she’s visited a few schools to see programming, and will soon start implementing program observations. Giving an external view on the similarities and differences on how our program is adapted to the needs on the ground. She also was made aware of the need for a Spanish translation for coaches and assistant coaches who run bilingual practices, and was thrilled to lend a hand. Maria will help translate the Work to Play curriculum, opening a door to help more kids across Chicago learn how to stay healthy and active.

In short, Maria has been a great addition to the team and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her! Congratulations!

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