Four high schoolers from Orange County will get to participate in a highly selective Bank of America program that provides summer leadership training and service opportunities.
Tahlia Vayser, a junior from Capistrano High School, and graduating seniors Kyle Stevens of San Clemente High, Miguel Quiroz of Valley High in Santa Ana, and Matthew Jacquez of La Habra High are among 225 community-minded scholars from across the country who have been invited to be a part of the company’s eight-week Student Leaders program.
Selected through a competitive application process, the Student Leaders will receive paid summer internships with local nonprofits, including Goodwill and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast. They’ll also participate in a week-long national leadership summit in Washington, D.C. to learn how the government, business and nonprofit sectors are working together to address critical needs.
“It’s training the next-generation workforce, and recognizing the leadership within our community,” said Lisa Sims, community relations manager at Bank of America.
“With the internships, it’s not just clerical assignments,” Sims said. “They learn how nonprofits work from job-shadowing and from working on projects. We have that found that some of our students who went through this program came to realize they wanted to kind of pursue these kinds of careers.”
The summit will take place in July, at about the halfway point of the program, Sims said. Student Leaders from across the country will convene to meet with members of Congress and participate in activities including service-learning projects and workshops designed to help them contribute to an engaged society.
Based on their resumes, the four students from Orange County are already making significant contributions locally.
Tahlia Vayser, 17, founded an organization called Lather that collects gently-used linens and toiletries from homes and hotels and distributes them to area homeless shelters, benefitting hundreds of residents each month.
“It really is gratifying to know that the work you give to the community is being acknowledged by people who want to further your experience and improve your outreach on a really grand scale,” she said at a reception on Wednesday. “I’m really excited to partake in this. This is unlike any opportunity I’ve ever had before, honestly.”
Matthew Jacquez, 18, has tutored other students and volunteered on behalf of his church. He said he was searching for summer internship opportunities before he heads to Stanford University in the fall. He plans to major in management science and engineering.
“When I saw this program, I thought it was really cool because it involves a lot of community service,” he said. “But it also gives that experience, and I think it’s really preparatory for the next stage of my life.”
The Student Leaders program is part of Bank of America’s commitment to youth employment and economic mobility. More than 3,000 students have participated since it began in 2004.