Another wonderful youth summer internship is in the books!
Most of our internship was completed virtually; however, we were able to do some awesome in-person activities safely. WAVE’s seven 2022 youth summer interns, aged 15 to 19, were very busy participating in gun violence prevention education and advocacy.
Throughout the summer, the interns cultivated strong friendships with one another and developed skills that they will continue to use throughout their lives.
This year’s internship focused primarily on how gun violence impacts us on a community-based level. Our interns not only learned the root causes of gun violence and how to prevent it, but also facilitated gun violence prevention trainings for a group of their peers. We were very intentional in ensuring that several facets of gun violence were included in our program.
In just 8 weeks, here’s some of what we covered:
- Gun violence prevention 101
- Root causes of gun violence
- The NRA’s role in gun violence
- The debate on arming teachers
- Equity in gun violence prevention
- Local, state, and federal gun violence prevention legislation
- Community-based organizing and community-based gun violence solutions
- An overview of school-related mass shootings in America
- Mental health equity in gun violence prevention
- Criminal justice reform
- The importance of centering survivors in gun violence prevention
- Why civic engagement and advocacy are important to gun violence prevention
Our interns also had the opportunity to do tabling in the community, attend political advocacy trainings with partner organizations, and provide their perspective on gun violence to a newly founded organization called “Project Unloaded.”
One of the most important ways to gain an understanding of the impacts of gun violence is to hear from a survivor. With the help of our donors, we were able to sponsor a group outing for our interns to see Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down.
ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS THAT WORKED WITH OUR PROGRAM
Throughout the internship, we collaborated with several ally organizations. We are especially grateful to the following organizations for providing their guidance, expertise, and resources to our internship program.
- Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions
- Uphold 31:8
- Project Unloaded
- Bounce Milwaukee
- March for Our Lives
- The Restorative Justice Collective
- Students Demand Action
INTERN FINAL PROJECT
Every summer, the internship culminates in a final project. This year the interns planned a lakefront demonstration to raise public awareness around gun violence. Unexpected weather conditions prevented the group from completing the original plan, but we were still able to gather to create signs at the Milwaukee Public Library and share WAVE’s mission.
Additionally, some interns took advantage of the opportunity to create an internship portfolio. This portfolio included things they learned this summer, goals they had, and their overall feelings towards the internship.
Here’s what one intern had to say:
“In the near and far future, I hope to take my advocacy and activism work to the next level. This means going beyond reading the news and talking about it within my community. It means protesting, learning in-depth, seeking out sources and experts, reaching out to, learning from, and engaging with communities outside of my own for new perspectives and ideas, and working to determine my values. This internship has given me the ultimate foundation to strengthen my advocacy work with gun violence, and overall caring about our past, present, and future.“