How an Office Internship Becomes a New Opportunity

How an Office Internship Becomes a New Opportunity

Galen began his journey with our Career Services programs when he turned 18 after two bouts of homelessness, being removed from his mother’s home and intermittent stays in foster and group homes.

Throughout an unpredictable and chaotic childhood, Galen graduated from Piner High School. He was diagnosed from an early age with Asperger Syndrome. He struggled with social interaction, but became a voracious reader and dove into studying art, philosophy, politics and military history. He humbly jokes, “But don’t ask me about math or science!”

Galen joined the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps with SAY after he graduated, earning meaningful, paid work experience, environmental education, and the opportunity to explore careers and develop work-readiness skills in some of Sonoma County’s most loved parks.

“I love being outside, and I was promoted to Senior Crew in my second year. I really wanted to be responsible for my own housing, but I experience a lot of physical pain on a daily basis. I didn’t know how I could do another year of Crew. I needed another option.”

Galen, with a curious spirit, biked by our offices “on a whim” and was encouraged to apply for an office internship.

Tech skills did not come naturally for Galen, but office etiquette was the most transformative part of his internship.

“I learned how to build rapport with others. I learned how to dress and interact in an office environment. Shaking hands and opening doors…I’ve never had to concern myself with those considerations.”

Galen learned to use Google Docs and Outlook, and basic troubleshooting so he can help others. Inspired by his love of nature, he took initiative to care for the plants at the campus. He takes pride in finding ways to be part of SAY’s impact. Galen shares that he has “many things to be happy about.”

“I have housing and I enjoy working here. I am embedded in the gaming community, play competitively, and I even can use my gaming skills and collection as currency to help me be sustainable. I’m changing my life for the better with every decision I make.”