Immigrating to the US and Finding Work

[Enterprise for Youth] has been the best experience I ever had because I did not think that I would go so far at my young age.”
– Lesli Meija de Paz, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) intern, 2022

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Lesli Mejia de Paz became independent at the age of 15. “I separated myself from my parents and all my family [in Guatemala] because I came to the United States looking for opportunities and education.” Lesli came to San Francisco motivated to expand her horizons and to learn English. She enrolled in Mission High School and Enterprise for Youth where she completed four internships over three summers and gained valuable skills. Through our program, Lesli discovered her professional ambitions to become an environmental engineer.

“Enterprise has prepared me for work. If I did not join Enterprise, I couldn’t have had those internships.”

Lesli was excited to work in an office for the first time during her internship at Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) this summer. “I learned new things that I didn’t think I would learn.” Lesli learned about how law firms operate and gained administrative skills, such as Outlook, Teams, PowerPoint, and more. Her proudest accomplishment was that she improved her English. She requested that the Spanish-speaking staff speak only in English to her, improving her fluency and opening doors to more professional opportunities.

“The program has helped me find my path for the future.”

Lesli’s Climate Careers Corps internship at McLaren Park not only added to her confidence, but also inspired her professional aspirations. “It’s when I decided to study environmental science. I want to help to keep saving the planet. I want to dedicate myself to help solve those problems to have a better planet and a better environment.”

“Enterprise is for everyone.”

“I met different people from different races and ethnicities. They don’t just focus on one person, but they get everyone involved. I only knew basic words when I started and they definitely helped me by translating and keeping everyone updated about the group work.”

“People should donate to Enterprise because it really helps high school students find their way or path to the future. There are so many internships!”

Make a gift to support youth like Lesli

Climate Career Corps: Inaugural Year Highlights & Appreciations

This year, two-hundred eighty youth in Enterprise’s program were exposed to green careers as part of the Climate Career Corps. Some young folks, like Lesli, have been inspired by their Climate Career Corps internships to continue fighting climate change in their professional and educational paths. We are grateful for everyone who supported our efforts to train and educate young people.

Thanks to our:

  • Funders: Deloitte, DCYF, Kaiser Permanente, OEWD, Opportunities for All, Salesforce, SF Community Challenge Grant, SFPUC, a generous anonymous gift, and many more contributors.
  • Climate Career Summit speakers: Sabrina Cerquera, Miguel Dimas, Jonah Greenberger, Alexia Leclercq, Jannie Newsom, Isaiah Powell, Arte Romero y Carver
  • Advisory Board: Sabrina Cerquera, Miguel Dimas, Amber Hasselbring, Jessica Heiges, Diana Kapp, Alexia Leclercq, Jannie Newsom
  • Partner: Nature in the City, a dedicated thought partner and environmental consultant
  • Internship site hosts: Alemany Farms, Interstice Architects, National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Nature in the City, Presidio Trust, RefuseRefuse, San Bruno Mountain Watch, San Francisco Landscapes, San Francisco State Professor, Sara Bugskas, SF Environment Office, SF Rec & Parks: Volunteer Division, Sutro Stewards
  • Community for being here and supporting our mission to empower youth through transformative paid work experiences

Congratulations to our youth who worked hard this year to better the planet and themselves! Help us serve even more youth in 2023 with your donation today.