High School Interns Learn How to Combat Prejudice

They’re Making ‘A World Of Difference’ With ADL

A diverse group of New York City high school students, including three from Queens, who have been leading efforts to stand up to hatred and bigotry is spending the summer participating in the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) internship program, which in its 20th year aims to teach civil rights issues, promote diversity, and provide anti-bias and anti-bullying education.

Peter Roy of Richmond Hill High School (at left) and Rosa Calosso of Aviation High School in Long Island City are among a host of teenagers participating in the Anti-Defamation League’s “A World of Difference” summer internship program, which promotes civil rights issues and tolerance for others.

The 15 students in the ADL World of Difference Institute Summer Internship Program were selected for their leadership qualities and experience in ADL’s Peer Trainer program, an initiative that empowers students to facilitate conversations about hatred, prejudice and discrimination with their peers. The interns represent a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds and religions, including some who are first and second-generation immigrants.

“Each of these students has shown, as ADL Peer Trainers and ADL summer interns, qualities that would be welcomed in any young professional-leadership, creativity, curiosity, and a desire to effect change,” said Ron Meier, ADL New York Regional Director. “Our internship program offers a unique opportunity for these students to utilize these qualities in a professional environment, and for them to learn about the important anti-discrimination and civil rights work done by ADL. At the end of the summer, these students will be able to bring these lessons back to their schools and communities, and will have developed skills and knowledge that will aid them in their future careers.”

This summer’s interns are prospective sophomores, juniors and seniors at high schools across New York City, including one from the Bronx, attending Peace & Diversity Academy; three from Brooklyn, attending Brooklyn International High School and Clara Barton High School; three from Manhattan, attending High School of Hospitality and New York City Lab School; five from Queens, attending Aviation High School, Martin Van Buren High School, Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School and Richmond Hill High School; and three from Staten Island, attending the Port Richmond High School, Staten Island Technical High School and Susan E. Wagner High School.

For seven weeks, the interns gain professional experience by handling various tasks for an ADL department, including Leadership, Education, Development, Marketing & Communications, Regional Operations and Human Resources. This year’s students also are working on programrelated projects, including writing and designing an annual summer newsletter titled “Moral Couragehellip; What Is It?”, producing a public service announcement on bullying, and creating a collaborative scholarship database to help aid their college application process.

The students also attend weekly Leadership Sessions focused on public speaking, interview skills, resume writing and networking and weekly Global Awareness Sessions that teach current global issues with an emphasis on specific leaders who made a difference.

The program continues in the fall when the interns join other student leaders from across the country in Washington, D.C. for the ADL Grosfeld Family National Youth Leadership Mission, where they will explore issues of bias and discrimination and visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to learn about how to apply lessons of the atrocities of World War II to today’s issues of prejudice and hate.

The ADL World of Difference Institute Peer Training program was developed in response to the 1991 Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn, and Peer Trainers take action against prejudice by leading workshops, giving interactive classroom presentations and facilitating discussions with their peers about hate, prejudice, discrimination and bullying. Their efforts help create schools, communities and organizations where differences are valued and respected.

Founded in 1992 as a way to further the ADL Peer Training program, the New York Regional Office Summer Internship Program is made possible by the generous support of Cynthia and George Marks in collaboration with the Prejudice Reduction Task Force.

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