Student Interns Learning & Earning at Saguache Works
By Stacey Holden, Saguache Works
Student interns at Saguache Works never get bored. A day’s work may include unpacking, pricing and shelving food items following a major delivery; providing information about the area to out-town-visitors; waiting on customers at the cash register, wrapping packages and running the credit card machine; or creating a spreadsheet to track inventory for Homegrown Totes.
“We are cultivating in them a sense of self-confidence, responsibility, hands-on work experience, as well as a genuine interest in the wellbeing of their own community,” says program coordinator Stacey Holden. “We are thrilled with our interns and wanted to take this chance to tell the community about our program.
The internship program at Saguache Works began in 2013, thanks to a sales tax grant from the Saguache County Commissioners. This year’s program, funded by generous grants from the Peyback Foundation and the Southern Colorado Community Foundation, involves high school students in the Saguache Welcome Center, the 4th Street Food Store, Blue Earth Thrift & Mercantile and Homegrown Totes.
“They are learning new skills, helping us out immensely, and we are able to pay them a small stipend so they get a monthly paycheck,” Holden says. “By including them in a variety of different projects, we hope that we are enhancing their overall learning experience while allowing them to discover their strengths and interests.”
Student Rosey Lowe particularly enjoys working with locals and interacting with people from out of town. “The internship,” she shares, “gives me business experience that will be helpful in my future.”
Kaya Holden likes running the cash register, meeting new people and helping to revitalize her community, while Brianna Long is a great organizer of thrift store donations and has a flair for creating new displays.
All our interns have been extensively involved in Homegrown Totes, Saguache Works’ fledgling fiber arts cottage industry, since it began in the fall of 2014. They help with marketing, designing, sewing, and preparing the bags for sale. They also have actively participated in several arts and craft festivals, representing, talking about and selling Homegrown Totes.
Marian Glenn has particularly enjoyed “getting to see the creation of a new business, helping to make something new and being able to show my creative side.”
Totes production manager Penny Bruce says she has come to rely on Marian’s sense of design and her ability to envision things geometrically. Bruce appreciates the level of enthusiasm and fresh spirit of creativity that all of the interns have brought to the project.
“They make it fun to do something mundane like sorting fabric and,” she adds “the students have learned quickly to perform all aspects of producing the totes.”
Interns also have the opportunity to use their computer skills in creating signs, posters and even spreadsheets, and their math skills in calculating food prices, while at the same time gaining a better understanding local food production and distribution.
For more information about the Saguache Works student internship program, or to apply for an internship position, please call 655-0216.