Interns begin with the office basics: phone manner, database creation and use, Excel and Word lessons. They shadow someone in each department of the Floating Hospital, learning about different job functions and company structure. And they also learn manners: the basic niceties of being polite and saying good morning and excuse me. Their “schooling” includes a restaurant excursion to learn things many of us take for granted such as how to read and order from a menu, table etiquette and tipping.
“Some of these kids are in shelters and have never been to a restaurant,” says Davis. Other field trips are more academic, to the United Nations, the mayor’s mansion and the main branch of the New York Public Library. A career day brings in representatives from an assortment of careers: attorneys, scientists, judges, politicians and even a sanitation worker.
With Covid still in the picture, Davis changed it up. “[The interns] learned to go into the community and talk about our services and each had to do a different presentation. They handed out flyers and talked to people in the community. And when they saw someone they’d spoken to come in to the hospital two days later, it was incredibly impactful.”
But the impact of the program stretches far beyond a few weeks of work. “My very first intern is an attorney now,” she boasts. “I have a motto I give to them, and I think it’s resonated: Never work hard, always work smart.”
— Amy Zavatto