In its second
year, the University Community Service Centerís ten-week Summer
Links program had 30 students working in nonprofit and community-service
organizations across Chicago. The College Report asked six students
about their Summer Links experiences: Myesha Banks, í99, the Chicago
Womenís AIDS project; Geoff Ching, í99, the U of Cís Office of Special
Programs; Intesar Hussain, í01, the Museum of Science and Industry;
Anne Newman, í01, Childrenís Memorial Hospital; Samara Ruth Potter,
í01, the Erikson Institute; and Kristen Praner, í99, the Chicago
was the most rewarding aspect?
Working with the HIV-positive clients was the best aspect of the
summer. It wasnít a sad situation. I worked with the children mostly,
but the women were really upbeat, positive, and ambitious, and it
rubbed off on me.
Potter: The best part of my work was the opportunity to create
an evaluation system of a set of interviews of young boys housed
in a Baltimore correctional facility. The study attempted to look
at the different adaptive strategies boys use to function in their
did you find most frustrating?
Hussain: Nonprofit organizations are severely underfunded. You
have a lot of great ideas, but you donít have the money with which
to do them. In the museum, we had space limitations. There was one
lab we were working with that did not have a sink. The voice of
the not-for-profit is growing fainter, and we need to start speaking
up for the voice.
Praner: The knowledge that I was working under a ten-week time
constraint was definitely frustrating; however, I was able to stay
on at my job at the Gardens for an additional four weeks as an independent
Besides adjusting to the environment at the hospital, and knowing
that any plan I made for the day probably wouldnít go as planned
due to all the medical involvements kids had, the most frustrating
aspect was seeing kids at their low points, when they were too sick
to work with me, when they had been there so long and had started
to lose their spirit.
did you learn?
Hussain: I remembered that when I was young, I had a science
teacher who actively engaged me in hands-on science. Too often,
people struggle and make it, but then turn their backs on the members
of the community. People donít realize how important it is to help
those who are going through the experiences that you once went through.
Working as a swimming instructor, educational aide, and tutor, along
with talking to other Summer Links interns, I learned that there
are a lot of people in this world who will never be mentioned as
one of the Fortune 500 and will never know what itís like to earn
a six-figure salary. But the people I came into contact with this
summer convinced me that the kind of work they do is the kind of
work I want to do too.óP.J.A.