WASHINGTON, D.C. – Five migrant/seasonal farmworker college students will be selected to live and work in Washington, D.C. for an intensive eight week internship and professional mentoring program. The goal is to provide life altering experiences and networks to help students make the intellectual, cognitive, and emotional transition from agricultural life to that of a professional.
Instead of youth working in the fields harvesting fruits or vegetables in the sweltering summer heat, they will live with host families, be placed in positions from the Department of Agriculture or the National Education Association, to the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, or Farmworker Justice. They will all be overseen by the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association (NMSHSA).
The goal of Migrant Seasonal Head Start is to prepare children to enter school ready to learn. Born 49 years ago from a desire to remove as many obstacles to academic success as possible, President Johnson created Head Start in 1965, as part of his War on Poverty. In 2014, President Obama reaffirmed the value of Head Start by providing 8.8 billon dollars to extend Head Start opportunities for America’s vulnerable children. This internship is a capstone to those investments.
“Every child needs a helping hand and a mentor. Professionally, we all had someone help us get where we are today,” said Cleo Rodriguez, Jr., executive director of NMSHSA. “NMSHSA is proud to continue extending our hand to students from across our great nation. We hope our investment will impact the lives, goals, and dreams of our interns and in turn we hope these new professionals will impact the lives of countless other migrant and seasonal youth in years to come!”
The selected farmworker students must be former Migrant/Seasonal Head Start children. The Office of Head Start serves three divergent populations: Regional Head Start, Native American Head Start and Migrant/Seasonal Head Start. They must be enrolled in college, and come from a family that is, or has, worked the agricultural fields of America.
The paid internship offers: stipends, on-the-job training, networking opportunities, professional skills development, leadership development and personal/professional mentoring from consummate D.C. professionals, many of whom are also former farm workers.
Applications are available at nmshsaonline.org and are due no later than 5 p.m. EST March 31.