Say Hello To Our 2021 Summer Interns!
--Swara Pandya
5 minute read
Jun 28, 2021


For many summers now, a crew of service-hearted youth have come together for a multi-week internship with ServiceSpace. Circling up with a team of mentors, they dive headlong into a summer-long immersion for the head, hands, and heart -- engaging in books and talks on leading with values, personal practices like meditation and acts of kindness, project work ranging from graphics to filmmaking to writing to podcasting and beyond, and sharing reflections with each other and themselves along the way.

Today, we’re thrilled to begin our 2021 summer internship with a fantastic crew of a dozen interns and mentors! Even just the interns’ application responses have taught us so much already. Here’s excerpt from each intern below.

Katherine, a rising 10th grader, pointed to a need for greater balance in the framing of our social narratives, and a desire to ‘be the change’ she wishes to see:

… Almost everything I read about in the news is negative in some way, whether it's struggles in the government and politics, shootings occurring in different parts of the US, or hate crimes that are happening. The news almost never reports acts of kindness that happen, which is why the idea of ServiceSpace really appeals to me. Knowing that there are websites dedicated wholly to generosity acts and bringing joy into other people's lives, I think, is a great inspiration, which is why I want to intern and help with this cause.

Ocean in the UK describes her experience in the untapped power of smiling as an act of service:

Service to me means helping others in order to help myself. By helping others, it helps me through giving me a sense of purpose and fulfillment. I get just as much happiness through seeing someone being happy than I do being happy myself. I would / do love to be the person that makes or helps someone to be happy. This feeling that they receive may empower them to want to make someone else feel this way and therefore make them want to “pay it forward”. … Something small that I make a big effort with is simply smiling to people I walk past in the street. I try to smile at every person because I think the human race underestimates the power of a smile. It could make someone’s day or cheer them up when they need it most. This takes no skill, just intention.

Rikin further nuanced the intention behind our acts:

I also hope to be able to distinguish with myself whether I'm doing something for the benefit of the most, or for the benefit of myself. It's easy to do kindness acts when there's something in it for the person doing the act, but I want to be able to distinguish when exactly I'm doing those acts for myself and when I'm doing it for others. If I'm able to acknowledge when I do it for myself compared to others, I can hopefully stop myself from doing it for myself, and convince myself that it's more beneficial to the world which can do great things if I make the kindness act for someone (or some people) rather than myself.

Sanjana, our college student volunteer, described in parallel:

Service to me is an action without expectation of a return. When I make breakfast for my family, offer to help a pregnant woman with her groceries, or tutor my friends in school, I do not have any expectation of a return. These actions are simply ones that I have a natural inclination toward. I love to cook, so when I wake up in the morning on the weekends, I look forward to making a nice meal for my family. At my job at a restaurant, I enjoy serving customers by offering to help carry their food to their car. It is not an included part of my job description, but instead something that I naturally find myself doing. In school, I volunteer my time to tutor students. It is not a job or anything I get paid to do, instead it is a chance for me to express my love to impart my knowledge and experience in a certain subject. In all of the acts of service that I perform, I do not expect validation, monetary return, or any other form of acknowledgement. Any return I do receive is always an unexpected, pleasant surprise. The only thing I undoubtedly receive from service is happiness. I receive happiness because I am doing something I like, and because I get to make someone else smile. In my opinion, service is only truly service when one receives happiness with no expectations of anything in return.

Prisha, one of our 15-year-olds, is looking forward to meditating this summer! Specifically...

Another thing I wanted to gain from this experience this summer is forming a proper schedule for meditation and finding time to reflect on myself while doing good deeds. I had found myself recently not really focusing on myself and slowly growing away from being involved in these kinds of opportunities, and it put me in a very stressful state of mind. Through the internship, I hope to get a lot more motivation to meditate every day again and surround myself with people with similar struggles and aspirations as me so that I can grow as a person.

Annika, a rising 12th grader, also already has experience meditating! She notes:

I think that stillness is best achieved through meditation and breathing, and it is something I employ in order to keep myself calm and ready for my day. Through exercise and meditation, I achieve stillness in my daily life to keep me grounded and focused. Stillness to me means a way to ground your body physically and/or mentally, in order to be your best self and allows you to achieve the best version of yourself.

Alakh, our resident national youth cricket player, :) describes inner transformation as:

Inner transformation is change that roots in the heart and in the soul. I feel inner transformation is what really changes a person. I believe that everything on earth has a vibration. This vibration is connected to a universal energy, which can be referred to as fate, god, or the all knowing. For me, when inner transformation occurs, it affects the soul. The soul is bound to its vibration, and the vibration is bound to universal energy. So indirectly, inner transformation is a force so great, it alters ever so slightly the entire universal energy.

And in addition to these rocking interns, we’re also thrilled to have a remarkable crew of mentors: Anne, Brian, Daniela, Swara, Tim, and Vicky!

We look forward to seeing what this summer holds in store!

Posted by Swara Pandya on Jun 28, 2021

2 Past Reflections