In the Classroom and Beyond

Why interning with the Center for Civic Engagement can help you explore careers in education

If you’re interested in exploring careers in education, the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) Youth Initiative is a great place to start!  The CCE partners with local school districts to match students, student groups and faculty to programs, classrooms and buildings in the community that provide a mutual benefit for both the campus and local community.  

Interested students will meet with CCE staff to explore their interests including preferred age groups (elementary, middle, high school), type of experience they want to have, and other things like transportation needs and scheduling availability.  Once this meeting is completed, a matching process takes place.  Students can participate in a variety of activities while interning with the Youth Initiative.  These activities include, but are not limited to: classroom assistant, lunch/recess support, mentoring, after school support, English Language Learning support as well as course specific projects related to STEM, music, etc.  

If students are not interested in pursuing a career in teaching, there are several other opportunities within schools to get connected.  Students can provide support to building administration, work with guidance counselors, school nurses, athletics and more.  

One thing we emphasize with students is that they can think creatively about the type of experience they want to have while interning with the Youth Initiative.  We have had students start jump roping clubs at schools, supported a global citizenship after school program, developed pen pal programs and many more programs that are unique and become favorites to kids and families in our partner schools.

Students often come to the CCE because they are interested in getting to know the community better, or they want to volunteer but they don’t know where to start.  Our office has a Community Opportunities Directory where students can explore new opportunities.  There are several student staff available to sit and talk with students about their interests and passions.  Our goal is to help find the best fit for you! 

I can recall one student who stopped into the office and asked about opportunities to work with youth.  She was in the second semester of her first year at Binghamton and wanted to explore her new community more.  After a brief conversation about her transportation needs, course schedule and availability we decided a volunteer opportunity at an after school program would be the best fit.  She had a positive experience and inquired about returning for credit the following semester.  This student remained with the Youth Initiative for her remaining years at Binghamton and found a passion for special education and is currently pursuing a career in law.  

We know students have busy academic, work and social schedules.  It can be hard to commit to weekly volunteering hours.  Each semester, schools have one time events that students can support.  One school district has a fall festival each semester.  Students can support the event in a variety of ways including: set up/tear down, running a game booth, tabling, or helping distribute groceries etc.  These one time events can be a great way for students to be around local youth and families and explore new interests and opportunities.  

There are endless ways to explore careers in education through the Center for Civic Engagements Youth Initiative.  The best way to start is to reach out to have a conversation. 

By Sara Hall
Sara Hall Senior Assistant Director