Meet our Spring Leadership Externs!
May 16, 2022

Leadership can be taught in all stages of life, but we see a greater impact made when working hands-on with those on their way to earning a diploma. Young adults are eager to soak up as much information as possible and open their eyes to new experiences before venturing off on their own for the first time. They’re in the midst of making significant life decisions and answering that elusive question: What do I want to do for the rest of my life?

We present opportunities through our Foundation for young people in high school or college in the form of leadership externships or internships, respectively. They have the unique opportunity to discover the inner workings of a growing nonprofit, be paired with staff mentors, assist with community engagement, and help plan our annual programs and events. In addition, they’re exposed to how an organization like ours operates out of two geographically separate offices on a daily basis — and relentlessly pursues excellence in youth development. Each extern’s skills, experience, and interests are taken into consideration when assigning his or her scope of duties.

This Spring we were honored to have three young people join us: Andrew and Avery, from Canton High School, and Jack from Xaverian Brothers High School. All three were talented and driven students who paired their passion for our mission with a strong work ethic — and the results were amazing. We’ve learned as much from them as they have learned from us!

We asked each of them why they chose the Light Foundation for their externship, and here’s what they had to say:

Jack Haynes, Senior at Xaverian Brothers High School

I chose to work with the Light Foundation because what they do here is something that I have zero knowledge about. By spending time with them I hope that it can change my perspective on the world and enlighten me to make it a better place. After my first couple days here with the crew I know I could not have chosen a better opportunity.
Jack Haynes, Senior at Xaverian Brothers High School

Avery Piantedosi, Senior at Canton High School

The reason I chose to do my externship here at the Light Foundation was because of my passion for leadership. I was lucky enough to attend the Light Foundation Leadership Conference my freshmen year. Out of the many conferences I have attended, this one was the best! Through this experience, I want to learn about the logistics behind putting on a conference as great as this one. For example, what are some setbacks? What comes easier and what comes harder? I also want to continue learning about the importance of leadership and how I can translate that to my peers. Understanding how to relay a message to a large group of young people can be very challenging and I am excited to learn what works and what doesn’t. The employees with the foundation have great experience in many fields and I hope I can learn the ways of the “real world” through their expertise.
Avery Piantedosi, Senior at Canton High School

-Andrew Valkanas, Senior at Canton High School

This externship will help me begin my journey after high school with the Light Foundation. Through this opportunity, I am looking forward to a behind the scenes view of how such a solidified and well-respected foundation functions on a daily basis. In addition to that, I am interested in observing and learning the successful ways the Foundation networks and partners with other individuals and companies. Through all of this, I also want to make a difference by helping to create a meaningful and productive future among young people in my community.
-Andrew Valkanas, Senior at Canton High School

If you’re interested in having an experience such as this one through our non-profit organization, please email our Executive Director, Margrette Mondillo, at margrette@mattlight72.com.

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