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The 2013-14 GreenLife Internship Wraps Up.

This spring semester, five 11th graders completed their 9-month long intership with GreenLife, a horticulture and job-readiness internship program funded by The Friends of Roosevelt Park. The students, Paloma Paredes Jacquez, Gail Irby, Jesica Perez, Jeferson Nunez and Mamethierno Faye, spent the summer and fall maintaining the green spaces and gardens of Theodore Roosevelt Park, at the American Museum of Natural History.

Through this internship, the students worked closely with Richard Squire, their direct supervisor. Under his leadership and guidance, they learned how to use a variety of gardening tools and equipment, such as weedwackers, lawnmowers and hand pruners, to maintain the gardens and grounds. The students unanimously agreed with Gail's reflection on Richard: "He was great. He worked with us and was there with us every day. He talked with us and worked to understand us."

According to Mamethierno and Gail, in addition to working with and learning from Richard, the highlight of this internship was the opportunity to work outdoors with their hands, to spend the day, in nice weather, working with people you know and like.

Beyond the immediate horticultural skills, students learned other "soft skills" necessary for success in workplace. As stated by Paloma, the students learned "how to work with people." Jeferson and Gail both expanded upon that: Jeferson stating that the internship helped to improve their communication skills as they frequently had to be able to "correctly answer the people walking through the gardens and park who'd ask them about the flowers and plants with which they were working." "We learned even more about the importance of following directions and meeting expectations, " said Gail, "even when you don't like the work. You're not always going to enjoy everything about your work, or the people you work with, and so you have to learn how to be happy with it and get it done."

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