Youth Service, Inc. is lucky enough to have summer interns helping us make an impact in the communities we serve. Lauren Lynch and Julia Gong are medical students at Thomas Jefferson University, who interned at Youth Service, Inc. (YES) this summer.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. Where and what are you studying?

Lauren Lynch (LL): My name is Lauren Lynch. I was born and raised in Delaware. I attend Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and hope to become an emergency room physician.

Julia Gong (JG): My name is Julia Gong. I am from outside of Philly. I am currently a medical student at SKMC at Thomas Jefferson University.

Q: What is your goal as an intern?

LL: My goal is to connect with the youth and help them to see their potential and positive, unique qualities that they each possess. I hope that they can also develop a love of physical health during our daily exercise and learn new skills that will help them be successful in the future.

JG: My goal this summer was to get experience working with youth facing housing instability and to better understand the challenges they face.

Q: What is your main project during your time at YSI?

LL: Julia and I developed and executed a summer wellness/enrichment program for the youth that included a physical activity and another activity geared toward personal development or wellness.

JG: I was mainly responsible for coordinating the summer enrichment program at YES with my co-intern Lauren. We arranged and facilitated a variety of activities, focusing on physical activity and different aspects of wellness.

Q: Did you know about YSI prior to starting your internship? If not, what would be one suggestion for a place to publicize information about the agency?

LL: I knew about YES, but I did not know about the YSI organization.

JG: I knew about YES because our school has a weekly student organization that volunteers called JeffYES.

Q: Why did you choose YSI when you were looking for a place to intern?

LL: I knew I wanted to work with youth facing poverty and/or housing instability, and YES fit that perfectly. I think youth facing homelessness are some of the most resilient people, so I wanted to help them see their self-worth and develop skills to thrive in the next stages of their lives.

JG: I wanted to spend my summer working within the community to better understand the people I hope to be a strong advocate for as a future physician. I chose YES because I wanted the opportunity to work with youth, since my prior experience volunteering with children and adolescents in a pediatric hospital was extremely rewarding.

Q: Why do you think it is important to intern at YSI?

LL: The youth at YES are full of energy and passions, and interning at YES is a unique opportunity to help the youth follow those passions and transform into responsible, ardent young adults. Adolescents have so much opportunity ahead of them, and it is important to offer a safe space for them to grow, learn, and play – interning at YES provides that space for them.

JG: I think that it is important to intern at YSI because it gives you unique insight into the challenges youth facing housing instability face and how they demonstrate resiliency despite these challenges. Throughout the summer, it became easier to establish rapport with the youth and we were able to have meaningful conversations about topics like conflict resolution, which contributed to their individual growth.