Bay Area students give back to community, learn leadership skills through student summer program

Cameron Siler-Nixon and Kate Martin, are on a mission to help children at the Boys and Girls Club Pinellas Park.  

"I want to work with kids. I want to help them prosper and help their dreams and help be able to achieve their dreams," said Siler-Nixon. "So I saw this opportunity and I took it." 

They are among four teens who were selected from hundreds for paid summer jobs at the Boys and Girls Club. 

"It has honestly been an amazing experience. It's something that I can't get anywhere else," stated Martin. "I've have I've had amazing connections here at the Boys and Girls Club, and there's something that I will take with me for the rest of my life."

Their internships are part of Bank of America's Student Leader program. The goal of the 18-year-old program is to help mold future leaders. The teens get hands-on work experience in their community working for a nonprofit. 

 Cameron Siler-Nixon and Kate Martin in classroom

"They're learning about what it takes to make change happen in the community and really learn in depth all the pieces that a nonprofit it takes to run a nonprofit," Ann Shaler of Bank of America. 

It's experience they both can use. Martin already has a non-profit called "M.K. Blanket Wrap" and provides free blankets to the homeless. 

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"I want to help people in the future, you know, in any way that I can, whether that's going to medical or the business route. I run my own nonprofit and I want to continue to run that through college. And I've learned the skills here and how to grow my nonprofit so that I can continue to run it and reach more people," said Martin. 

Students in the Bank of America Student Leader Program

Siler-Nixon revived her school's Black Student Union to provide a place that supports all students. 

"Kids don't feel safe necessarily because they don't feel represented inside of the classroom or inside the school. So just having a place where they can find their voice and come together with people who understand the situation is something really special," said Siler-Nixon. 

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The teens are thankful for the two months of free training the program provided. 

Students in the Bank of America Student Leader Program

"It honestly has been so much better than I could have ever imagined. I got to work with kids. I got to go to board meetings. I got to travel around, stop. I got to meet amazing and great people and just form so many connections that I never would have thought at the beginning," Siler-Nixon shared. 

Shaping young minds to spur positive change well into the future.