Youth Empowerment Through Chocolate

Written by Luz Aguirre Ramirez, Program Manager.

This summer we partnered with twenty-seven organizations and businesses in San Francisco for our External Career Exploration Program. These partnerships have granted opportunities to 46 young people to work this summer doing what they love best: being creative, engaging in important work, and spending their summer learning new skills. 

As we wrapped up the third week of our six-week program, I have learned the following from our partners and the reasons they support the professional development/early career exploration of these young people: 

  1. Youth Curiosity: Our young people bring an enormous amount of curiosity to work. They want to see how things work behind the scenes. They want to experience how a small business operates beyond just the front end. Ashley Chan is an intern at Socola Chocolatier this summer. In her internship, she supports owner Wendy Lieu with business operations. Ashley has learned about the importance of chocolate packaging, customer service, and making chocolates!
  1. Youth Willingness to Learn: Hand-in-hand with curiosity is the willingness to learn! This year we have 46 young people all eager to learn new skill sets. Site supervisors have described their interns as, “Not afraid to ask questions,” and impressed by our interns’ advocacy to learn new things and achieve their internship goals. Carmen Li is an intern at Envelope Architecture + Design where she is being exposed to architectural design. In this role, she expressed her interest to learn Adobe InDesign and her supervisors have supported her in this endeavor and in connecting her with other professionals.
  2. Youth Empowerment: Partners working with young people see it as a golden opportunity to empower youth to take control of their career interests and support youth to become promising individuals. Jennie Lennick, the owner of Jenny Lemons, is a strong advocate for young people and enjoys working with us because she believes in the difference a summer internship can make in a young person’s professional development. This is Jenny Lemons’ fourth year working with us and has described her time with interns as fulfilling and fun. 

Thank you to our External partners for their dedication and support in working with our Enterprise interns. 

Bella Smile

First Republic Bank 


Red Dot Studio



Edgewood Center for Children and Families

Envelope A+D

California Coastal Commission 

Nana Joes Granola

Socola Chocolatier 

Korina Naturals 

Jade Chocolates


Kids in Need of Defense

UCSF- Memory and Aging Center

Banneker Partners

Jenny Lemons


Southern Exposure

SF Parks & Rec- Public Affairs Volunteer Services Office

Supervisor Ronen’s Office


Old Navy HQ

Potrero Medical 


SF New Deal