Posted June 20, 2024

Temple mentors North Philadelphia’s Cristo Rey High School students

Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School students discussed their internship experience at Temple University during a closing ceremony visit to Charles Library on Thursday, May 16.   

Image of Cristo Rey High School students at Temple University’s Charles Library.
Photography By: 
Joseph V. Labolito
Temple University’s Office of Community Affairs and Engagement is a gateway to community engagement and the many resources Temple offers through volunteerism, hosting and partnering with community organizations and providing direct services to neighbors in Philadelphia.

Since 2018, Temple University has partnered with Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School through a year-round internship mentoring program for youth. The program introduces students to a university setting, allowing them to network and learn about schools and colleges that pique their interests. The internship concluded with a closing ceremony at Charles Library in May.  

The Cristo Rey cohort interned with Temple’s Office of Community Affairs and Engagement, College of Engineering, Office of Government Affairs and Civic Engagement Initiative, University College, Charles Library, and the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. 

As part of the program, each student receives resources on financial aid and student housing along with hands-on training that prepares them for college. Students are also connected to businesses and nonprofits in the Philadelphia region. 

“They get to collaborate with Temple students and community members while learning about the prerequisites to get into the schools and colleges at Temple,” said Andrea Swan, director of Temple University’s Office of Community Affairs and Engagement.  

“For many of the interns, it is their first time being on a university campus, so it is important to connect them to a wider space of majors that interest them. 

“We engage students with resources year-round to ensure each intern can get accepted into college,” she added.  

Swan connected Aidan, a junior at Cristo Rey, to a project where he received valuable experience learning about the community outreach that Temple provides.  

He shadowed Swan in meetings and interviewed community stakeholders and residents about living in North Philadelphia and their engagement with Temple.  

“It was beneficial meeting community members, being immersed in the energy of a college campus,” he said. “Getting a firsthand view of information on the schools and colleges at Temple while networking with campus partners was valuable because attending college is my next step.”   

Additionally, he received experience working at a women’s sports day event that recognizes the achievements of girls and women in sports and encourages them to participate in athletic activities.  

“Temple showed me that they commit to people of all ages in the community,” he said. “The internship teaches you about time management, networking and the necessary tools to get into college and be successful.”  

Flemingramsey is interested in pursuing degrees in both psychology and education. He aspires to start a school network. 

Another intern, Hamirah, a senior at Cristo Rey, worked to organize Temple’s annual George Washington Carver Science Fair where hundreds of students from the School District of Philadelphia put their science skills to the test. The native of Germantown, Pennsylvania, received guidance on financial aid, student housing and the application process for getting accepted into college.  

“I find value in the internship program because it offers activities that keep you busy and take your mind off the challenges you may be going through,” said Hamirah, a first-generation student. “It points you in the right direction to find what you are passionate about studying, or it may lead you to a field you never knew would interest you.”  

As part of the program, she went on tours of Temple’s nursing program and was connected with Temple nursing students.  

“Mrs. Swan connected me with nursing students who shared with me what the program is like and different practices to consider when applying to nursing school,” she said.  

“It helped prepare me to be in a college environment to make connections with new people and motivates us to go out of our comfort zone to try new things.”