Our Youth Leadership Team (Jen, Che’Graftanay, Kiarra and Thurston) worked together to write this list of recommendations for creating safe environments and strong relationships for interns.
Safe Space Tips:
- Give the intern a tour of the workspace.
- Introduce intern to employees in the office space.
- Make sure your intern can properly use office equipment.
- Make sure your intern has a way of contacting you (ex: email, phone number, etc).
- Make sure the intern knows where he or she can always find you or your alternate mentor.
- When there’s a stressful situation, address the situation and let your intern know what’s going on. Ask how he/she feels about it and ask what you can do to help.
Mental/ Emotional Safety Tips:
- Always encourage the intern to ask questions.
- Listen to and respect the intern’s ideas.
- Understand that the internship is a learning process in which the intern will make mistakes.
- Give positive feedback to interns even for small tasks, and do something nice (ex: A ‘thank you’ card, snacks, etc).
Get to know you/Relationship Building Tips:
- Allow yourself to be open for communication with the intern.
- Try to establish a personal relationship with your intern (Ex: ask your intern what them what their interests are, what their dreams and goals are and how you as the mentor can assist them to reaching those dreams and goals).
- Understand that school comes first for your intern.
- Show your intern who you are outside of work (ex: Tell a joke, share personal experiences, etc.)
- Show your intern how you would handle stressful situations.
- Be friendly and approachable (ex: greet your intern when he/she comes to work).
- Give the intern advice or suggestions regarding work, school, or personal situations.
Checking In Tips:
- During and after a project, try to check in on your interns to see their progress and if they have any questions.
- Emphasize to your intern that asking questions is okay.
- Try to find time for your intern (ex: schedule meetings with intern).
- Check in with your intern between phone calls.
- Establish a trusting relationship with your intern (ex: give them more advanced tasks).