Giving Youth the Freedom to Explore

We talked with Enterprise youth Baijian Xie about his summer internship at BAVC, during which he wrote and produced a short film as part of a team.

Baijian pictured above

What was your first job? Why did you choose it? And how much of a choice was it? For most teens and young people that are starting their working careers, the options are limited. Entry-level positions in the service industry, hour-by-hour gigs such as babysitting or dog walking. Work is just that, work, and it’s not until college, or even after college, that the idea of doing what you love becomes remotely feasible.

But not for the youth at Enterprise. Baijian Xie is a current senior at Mission High School. He found out about Enterprise for Youth in 2020, through a presentation from his teacher. He completed our Job Readiness Training program, where he learned how to create a resume and cover letter, search and apply for jobs, interview, and learned about his rights as an employee. 

“Enterprise has definitely prepared me for future careers. They’ve taught us a lot of knowledge, like how to write cover letters and resumes, they’ve provided workshops for financial literacy, and many other things. I would really recommend it.”

During Baijian’s first Enterprise internship with Code Nation, he learned basic web design skills, including HTML and CSS, and produced a website that he was proud to share with family, friends, and staff. He explored and solidified his strong interest in computers and programming and plans to pursue a four-year degree in computer science or mathematics.

The next summer, Baijian decided to nurture his creative side and applied for an internship at Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), during which he and his team would spend four weeks working on a short documentary with a theme of environmental justice. BAVC is a community resource that provides people across the Bay access to media-making equipment and further support. Baijian saw this as a chance to explore his interest in film. “I chose the BAVC internship because I enjoy watching movies, and I like to record them on my own as well. When I heard about this opportunity, I thought it would be really cool to use professional equipment and to learn the professional approach to making a video.” 

Baijian and his group were introduced to the goals of their project and talked with their instructors to gain a deeper understanding of the theme of environmental justice. “We decided to focus on plastic in our film. We chose plastic because even though it’s everywhere, it’s often overlooked. Our goal was to remind people to use more recyclable resources and reduce waste.” After figuring out their goal, the instructors showed Baijian and his team some movies to give them examples of the basic elements of making a film.

“When I heard about this opportunity, I thought it would be really cool to use professional equipment, and to learn the professional approach to making a video.”

The filming began, and Baijian was amazed at how many people were involved in the process. “It’s hard to be alone if you’re working on a video or film because they have so many roles. You need directors, actors, a production crew, and post-production as well, which is editing the video after you’ve filmed it. There are so many people. It made me realize how important teamwork is, and I had to develop good communication skills.” But while there was always someone from BAVC to be a guide, he was empowered to take charge creatively. He learned how to adjust the settings on a professional film camera to get the result he wanted and used Adobe editing software to create the final product. “After shooting, we did some editing using Adobe software, putting the different scenes in order, adding transitions, merging clips together, and constantly revising using the suggestions of the instructors.”

When his internship was complete, Baijian had gained an entirely new set of skills. He had worked closely with a professional production crew, gotten hands-on learning opportunities for film composition, direction, and post-production, gained a deeper understanding of what it means to be an environmental activist, and created a film that was fulfilling and meaningful. “I liked that this internship had us learn new concepts and that the film wasn’t just recording daily life, it was getting involved in outreach and spreading a message.”

Currently, Baijian is a member of our Youth Council, a leadership development internship at Enterprise. He has been enjoying meeting people from many different schools, and recently took a workshop to strengthen his presentation abilities. Working closely with Enterprise staff has been a positive experience for him as well. “Enterprise is a really supportive community. If I have questions, I can ask the staff and they’re all willing to answer them. It’s so nice.”

To find one’s calling, one must first be able to explore. But in today’s highly competitive job market, it’s incredibly difficult to break into any industry without prior experience. Enterprise offers a chance for youth to explore their options, discover what works for them and what doesn’t, and simultaneously create a resume that is applicable to a wide variety of different jobs. Your donation today will help us continue to empower youth, build their skills and confidence, and create a strong future at work. Please make a gift to help us reach more youth and make a profound difference in their lives.

Above is the video Baijian made during his time at BAVC

By Francis Orkin, Writing Intern at Enterprise for Youth, 2022-2023. Interview responses were edited for clarity.