Luz Gomez was nervous about starting an internship at the Half Moon Bay Review last summer. The shy 15-year-old had an interest in journalism, so Puente found a place for her at the newspaper. “I wanted to do something I’ve never done,” says Gomez. Last summer, 40 teenagers completed Puente’s summer Youth Leadership, Development, and Employment Program. They earned an hourly wage doing meaningful work in a variety of settings. Gomez’s placement would, in fact, hone her interest in journalism. Her editor, Clay Lambert, sent her out to write articles and take photos. She interviewed people she did not know, which helped her conquer her shyness. She attended staff meetings, where she pitched story ideas and got assignments. She updated the Review’s Instagram feed and worked on the website. “I never thought I could write. It’s pretty exciting to see your name attached to something that everyone sees,” Gomez says. Education Director Lizeth Hernandez was overjoyed to see what Gomez was doing. “That’s a success story. It means we were all doing our jobs and providing a great learning opportunity.” Hernandez reaches out to local employers when students tell her they are interested in a particular career. That is how one student worked in a medical clinic, and two others in a San Mateo automotive repair shop. “These internships are a safe place for youth to explore career interests and an opportunity to develop social and emotional skills. When employers give youth an opportunity, we all win, “Hernandez says. Creating new opportunities for youth 14