Tips on Finding Vacation Employment in Your Community

Img of author Muskan Sharma

Muskan Sharma

No one wants to hire a sixteen year old with no experience. This was the hard truth that I was becoming aware of as my job search continued to drag on. I never thought it would be this hard. In my head I always thought that I would just walk into my interview with a big smile and a go-getter attitude, charm the interviewee, and then walk out job in hand. Clearly, this was not the case. Week after week, interview after interview I was getting no response.

Finally, feeling defeated and desperate, I went to Kathy, Founder of GiveTeens20®, education non-profit that helps teens find their career fit; thinking that she was probably the most qualified person to help me with this dilemma. I was correct in going to her. Kathy was quickly able to give me some important advice on what I should be doing.

“Print out your application, take it in, and give it to a manger. This will show initiative and your manager will get to know you before your interview. A lot of times managers don’t even consider online applications from 16 year olds, or they only look at the most recent applicants. That’s why personally taking your application in is so important.”

I did as Kathy explained and went into my interview a week later and received a job offer at the end the interview. I am now happily working at a store that I really love and owe it all to an internship with GiveTeens20® that gave me access to people like Kathy.

The Importance of Staying Awake During Summer Break

Marwa Doost

by Marwa Doost

Let’s be honest and admit that sleeping is the next best thing about summer right after the absence of school in your life. For one thing, you no longer have to worry about school deadlines when you’re asleep. You’ll also able to ignore your annoying siblings as they start yet another game of “let’s annoy the hell out of the parents until they call for the oldest child to do something about it.” And if that’s not good enough, you’ll also able to get out of doing errands for your parents, which most of the time consists of getting groceries from Walmart (which just sucks because it’s always busy) or driving by Aunt Marge’s house to take her dogs to the vet (which usually subjects you to standing at the front door of her house while she spends ten minutes fussing over you, your career choice, and your cheeks as she gives in to the urge of pinching them). All in all, sleeping in is pretty great.

However, there will always be a couple of people who disagree with this and more often than not, it will usually your parents. I mean I would be complaining as well if I suddenly lost someone to push all my work and errand drives onto. Still, it can be a pain when our moms complain about our sleep schedule to the dads, which- I don’t know about you- always ends with me on the receiving end of a lecture on the beauty of sleeping and waking up early (Warning: don’t stare into your dad’s eyes during the lecture, they can be just as convincing as the gen-jutsu the Uchiha’s put on you with their sharingan in Naruto).

It isn’t as if parents are against us sleeping, because they aren’t. They just would like to control that aspect of our lives. This is a very big problem if you ask me, because Mom and Dad, I may love you, but I also love my sleep. And let’s not forget that Summer time is the only real time we get to sleep in as much as we want.

When to Stay Awake

Usually, most teens are awake from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM during school days. During the summer, though, it’s obvious that no one follows that rule. The new “rule” is staying awake from 6:00 PM to 5 AM. Every teen knows these are the best times to pack your schedule with activities. For one thing, you don’t have to deal with your siblings as much because unlike you, parents can still control their bedtimes. And in an hour or two after you wake up, they’ll be shipped off to their rooms after daddy gives them a good night kiss. Not only does this leave you to your own devices for the next couple of hours, but it also means that your parents will be too tired from a day of watching the kids use the house as a jungle gym to criticize you for anything you might do.

What’s the good of this, you ask? Well, you can probably get away with most of the things you wouldn’t when the sun is still out. For instance, mom probably wouldn’t even blink an eye if you told her you were going out for a drive with your friend and wouldn’t be back until much later (of course she doesn’t know that the drive will probably end up with the two of you munching on IN-N-OUT after spending the night movie hopping).

Other benefit of staying awake is all the food that will be available to you during that time. Can you just imagine opening up the pantry and getting your hands on the half hidden bag of Doritos that mom covered up with the huge bag or rice? Or the Cookie Dough ice cream in the back corner of the freezer? As if that’s not already good enough, you get to jump into it without worrying about sharing!

Why is This the Right Thing?

If you’re a teen, the chances of you agreeing with everything I said are pretty high. Give or take, it would probably be around eighty percent of the readers. The other twenty who disagree would probably be full of the juniors and seniors who are already stressing about their college applications coming up soon. While you shouldn’t completely ignore the idea of doing well during the four years of high school, you shouldn’t obsess over it either. Doing so will not only give you a short life span, but sooner or later it will be the cause of you burning out. Be aware of your surroundings, what colleges expect of you, and what you think will be the best for you, but don’t forget to still enjoy the little things in life like the box of ice cream waiting for you in your freezer. You only get to be a teenager once, so you might as well enjoy it.

Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Four Techniques to Avoid Stress and Keep Your Sanity

Maluck-NawabiWe’ve all had to deal with stress in our lives at one point or another; whether it be from school or work, it’s something that can bring discomfort to our lives. When I started high school I found myself overwhelmed with many stressors and needed to find ways to make a positive transition. I found that I was the one who put the most pressure on myself. Right from the start I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted straight A’s, I wanted to finish all my service hours as soon as possible, and I wanted to get involved in clubs. I thought that everything would be fine, but I never anticipated that some of those things would not work out.

I struggled in Spanish and was never able to get the GPA I wanted during freshman year and this was a major blow that made me feel trapped. I was struggling and I felt like I had no one to turn to. It was during this time that I realized how important it is to ask for help.

Ask for Help

We like to think that we have everything under control and that we don’t need anyone, but in reality we could all use some assistance. You should not spread yourself too thin and just because someone else volunteers their time to do extra work does not mean that you have to do the same if that is not something that you can handle. For instance, when I knew I had a test and a group project on the same day, I would talk to my group members and tell them that I couldn’t contribute as much on a certain day. This was effective because I let them know ahead of time rather than saying I would do something and then forgetting to do it when they were clearly counting on me.

Write it Out

One must always be aware of his or her stress in order to find ways to manage it properly. Over the course of high school, I learned new ways to deal with my stress. I would keep a journal and do stream of consciousness entries. This is when you write down whatever you’re feeling as you are feeling or thinking it. I found this helpful because it allowed me to express my thoughts on paper and then see where I could make adjustments. Exercising daily was also an effective way to cope with stress as it allowed me to clear my mind. The exercise you choose to perform does not have to be complicated, it can simply be taking a walk outside to get some fresh air.

Make a Schedule

I believe that most of my stress in high school came from feeling as though I did not have enough time. When it came to picking classes, I would always load up on difficult classes that required a lot of work, both in class and outside of class. I now see that I should have come up with a schedule that worked better for me; that means taking one or two rigorous courses that I could handle along with other courses that were not as loaded. If you are rushing to complete assignments and find that you have little free time develop better time management skills, keep a schedule that includes deadlines, as well as time to relax and take a break. Sometimes I like to create mock due dates for assignments to avoid procrastination and get things done earlier.

Engage in Prep Work

If you are anything like me, you probably tend to get a little lost during lectures simply because you are so preoccupied with mindlessly copying down notes from the PowerPoint. To get a better grasp about what your teacher is talking about during lecture, try reading the chapter before the lecture. In high school you will be faced with assignments that seem difficult; however, it is important to break down large assignments into smaller parts that you can work on a little bit each day.

My high school experience consisted mainly of trying to deal with stress. This got in the way of me enjoying high school and making the most of new experiences. Do not allow stress to play a bigger role in your life than it has to because in the end it is truly not worth it. Find methods that help you relax and clear your mind. Have a support system of people who you can easily turn to for help and do not be afraid to ask for help. Some high school courses are more difficult than others; therefore, you must find a way to balance your schedule and make the most of your time. High school is an exciting time in one’s life, and no matter how intimidating it may seem at first, you just have to remember that everything will work out well.

Image Courtesy

By Maluck Nawabi


May 2016 Newsletter

Here is the May 2016 Newsletter, Featuring Kathy’s Corner and details of some GT20 upcoming events.

Kathy’s CornerKathy

Greetings, Teen Supporters! Check out some of the upcoming projects GiveTeens20® is currently working on:

  • GT20’s Career video with Tyler Layfield and the late Kalimero continues to inspire teens to become K9 officers. We are starting a K9 Retirement Fund for Fremont Police Association (FPA) as all expenses rest on the handler’s wallets once the dog is retired. Join us at our Chamber Mixer, July 7th Concert in the Park, and the Fremont Festival of the Arts to support this effort.
  • GT20 continues to encourage and equip teens by providing in-class presentations at no cost to schools. In the sessions, teens are encouraged to Know Themselves by honest self-assessment, then to Learn about careers they now know are interesting to them and are given no-cost tools to accomplish this. Contact to get on our schedule.

Upcoming Events

May 24, 5-7pm
GT20 Fremont Chamber Mixer
at Critosphere,
7100 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont

Concerts in the Park
July 7, 6-9pm
Supporting the K-9 Officers
Retirement Fund

August 6 & 7
Fremont Festival of the Arts
Supporting the K-9 Officers
Retirement Fund

September 8, 6-10pm
All in White Casino Night
Magnussen Lexus

Thursday, September 8th 6-10pm
at Magnussen Lexus of Fremont $50 per person
Available Monday, May 24th on or from any GT20 Board Member
All in White Casino Night
39270 Paseo Padre Pkwy #446
Fremont, CA 94538


Given by the organization’s Founder, this award honors an individual who has made a substantial contribution of time and talent to GT20 that has significantly impacted the organization’s progress.

The 2016 Founder’s Award will be presented to Loyal Mealer with Enerongoso, a web services consulting business, who was GT20’s first partner and cheerleader. Loyal has provided invaluable support and expertise since 2011.

The GT20 Teen Champion is nominated by the community at large, voted on
by the GT20 Board, and recognizes an individual, or individuals, who provide
teens with opportunities in learning/education, training, societal awareness,
employment and advancement. The 2016 Teen Champion Award recipient will be presented at our All In White Casino Night.

Brittany Hang graduated Long Beach State with a degree in Journalism in May, 2014 and was brought on as GT20’s Social Media Intern. She was hired by Facebook in July, 2015 and states, “Reason why I’m getting an interview and have gotten this far is because of my work with you. I have you to thank for this!”


Download a PDF version of this newsletter:

GT20_Newsletter_May2016 pdf

Choosing a College Goal: Personal Interest vs. Career

Is career choice an either-or situation?  When students foresee the goal of their college education, they are caught in a tug-of-war between the sensible prospect of job security or a career path tailored to their passions and interests.  Rarely do they overlap.  They may consider the kitchen their happy place, but know that majors in Culinary Arts fall on the lower end of the college grad income spectrum.  Therein lies the conundrum: What should be their focus?

Out of a pool of Freshman polled entering UCLA, the majority listed a decent job as their top reason for attending college.  This is a clear shift from 20-30 years ago, when gaining skills and exploring interests reigned as the core ideal.  As expected, this correlated with an overall deviation from the number of awarded degrees in science and the arts.

Despite technically-driven majors leading to the highest paid entry-level careers (Engineering in particular), such programs offer little if any skills in communication.  According to Bloomberg’s “2015 Job Skills” interactive graphic, the most desired and rarer attributes would sorely lack in technical programs: Leadership, Creative Problem-Solving, and Communication.

Speech 101 may cover the basics, but GE courses typically only dip the student’s toe into the pool instead of drilling deeper into specifics, as they are intended.  Those students of technical study must then train themselves via self-education or consciously step outside their area of expertise by enrolling in courses unrelated to their degree.  This more than likely parallels our earlier mentioned tug-of-war.

Unrelated courses may inspire and motivate, while required material feels more like a tried and true job; it may lead to possible dislike and eventually resent toward their field.

As with life, students should find that golden balance between necessity and passion.  Avoid relying on an illustrious career as a renowned author, but find a way to weave your writing prowess into a job with a proven record for stability.  Who knows; actively pursuing creative hobbies on the side may end up paying the bills, too!

This blog was provided by Westface College Planning.  For more tips and information, sign up for a free College Funding workshop or webinarcall us at (650) 587-1559, or send us an e-mail.

Future Investing with Summer Programs and Internships

watermelonWith summer approaching, you and other high school students may first bask in the glow of three months away from essays and assigned projects.  Once that feeling subsides—particularly for all of you wonderfully ambitious students—you’ll wonder if any options exist to keep your mind stimulated, prepare yourself for their future careers, or possibly explore avenues they have yet to tread.  So what’s the answer?  Summer programs and internships!

Science? Art? Communications? There’s a Program for All of Them!

For our California pupils, here are a few local opportunities orchestrated by colleges over the summer that may peak your interest, courtesy of the Los Altos High School College and Career Center:

Academy of Art College in San Francisco
“Six-week intensive art program offers up to four classes either online or onsite in San Francisco. Get a glimpse into college life, meet other young artists and explore a variety of art & design fields. Note: Students staying in Campus Housing must take four on campus classes.”

COSMOS (California State Summer School for Math and Science)
UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz

“Cosmos is a four week residential academic experience in math, science and engineering for top high school students. Students can participate in one of the many clusters of the COSMOS program at any of the above UC campuses. Some sample clusters are Under the Sea: Exploring Marine Organisms and Their World, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering: Robots and Flying Machines, Medical & Veterinary Responses to Infectious Diseases, and Environmental Sciences and Experimental Ecology.

Students apply to one of the four University of California’s COSMOS campuses — UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz. Each campus may have a different focus.”

Internship Programs

Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program
Palo Alto, CA

“An 8-week summer internship program open to high school juniors and seniors. Hands-on research under guidance of a one-on-one mentor. Choose from immunology, stem cell biology, neurobiology, cardiovascular medicine and cancer biology.”

ZOMA Worldwide
Palo Alto, CA

“An international internship program for high school students based in various industries in Shanghai, China. Must have completed sophomore you and have strong academic records and proven leadership abilities. Chinese language is not required by students enrolled in Chinese language coursework is preferred. Internships are available in the areas of high tech, marketing, public relations, advertising, law travel and hospitality and architecture. Bilingual resident assistants are on-site 24 hours for supervision and assistance.”

Make a Decision Based on YOUR Goals

If earning some cash on the side is your driving force, an internship may not be your best choice for this summer.  While internships add bulk to an otherwise sparse resume, they are often notoriously unpaid.

On that same token, unpaid internships and volunteering may seem like thankless work, but both can easily lead to a future “in” at a company.  A connection with them on LinkedIn® assures an open-ended opportunity to re-connect once you’re finishing up the last requirements for your degree.

We all deserve some R&R, but with three long months ahead of summer 2015, why not devote part of your time to a worthwhile investment in your future (and bank account)?

This blog was provided by Westface College Planning.  For more tips and information, sign up for a free College Funding workshop or webinarcall us at (650) 587-1559, or send us an e-mail.

Photo Credit: Harsha KR

College Choice: How Important is Financial Fit?

3493082186_52d4d2807f_z-150x150Acceptance letters are in!  Seniors have less than a month to finalize their college choice.  Most seniors have applied to multiple colleges, and potentially found two, three, or more acceptance letters sitting in their mailbox or popping up in their inbox.  While some find the choice is a no-brainer, others are stumped.  Out of five acceptances, perhaps not a single one stands out as the golden opportunity.  So, how do you choose? Does the cost matter?  How do you measure your ROI (return-on-investment)?


Your choices may be pitted against one another as equally good academic and social fits, but what about the financial fit? Which college measures up as the best investment based on financial returns for your student?

ROI, as defined by PayScale, refers to the college’s net cost combined with the length of time required to earn that amount after securing a job.

Recently, PayScale released their yearly list of top colleges based upon ROI.  They offer a quick review of their top performers in their “Best Value Colleges.” According to PayScale, majors and career choices matter as well as college choice.  Science majors would see Cal Poly and San Jose State topping the chart, while students of Economics would mull over Rank #1 University of Pennsylvania and UC Berkeley at #2.

“Results May Vary”

The report lists estimated ROI, the average 4 year cost (with and without financial aid), graduation rate, and more.  Keep in mind the data is mined from average statistics at each college, not data down to the individual student.

Results do vary by student.  Every student will pay a different amount for college (it’s true!), so you’ll need to calculate your own ROI, using PayScale’s salary estimates for the career you are seeking.  ROI provides an analytical, practical means to assist in determining your final college choice.

We recommend keeping financial fit in the forefront of your decision making process, along with academic and social fit.  The cost of college does matter to the majority of families.  Consider ROI as one determining factor to make your ultimate decision.

This blog was provided by Westface College Planning.  For more tips and information, sign up for a free College Funding workshop or webinar or call us at (650) 587-1559.

Photo Credit: circulating

Benefits of Being A SAC Member

As mentioned in a previous post, GiveTeens20® is currently looking for 10 awesome interns to join our Student Advisory Council. There are some great benefits and opportunities to joining our SAC internship. Instead of having us explain what they are, we decided to interview two current SAC members and have them tell you about their experiences.

Cat Tran

Cat Tran

Status: Graduating senior at American High School. She is currently on the SAC as an intern and the secretary of SAC.

Interests/Hobbies: Tran enjoys singing and has been in several performances at her high school. She loves watching television shows that revolves around suspense and is currently obsessed with “Grey’s Anatomy”.

What do you do as a SAC Member?

“I provide teen input and opinions on certain topics like teen employment, and trending topics that would hit home to a lot of teenagers. I also contribute in community service events like the Ohana Health Fair and Fremont Street Eats, but I am pretty much a representative. I attend these events and I talk about the purpose of what this internship is or on a broader scale what GT20 is.”

The benefits of being on SAC: “I got to implement my interpersonal skills that I developed over the years, as well as my time with GT20 for Kaiser Permanente. I think it has served me really well in terms of building relationships with co-workers and patients. That’s an asset that I really value.”

The opportunities/experiences: “I have a lot of memorable moments with the SAC. I feel like every meeting is refreshing and exciting. Not only do I get to voice my opinions and offer innovative ideas to the GT20 board, I feel like I have a purpose. I have all of these cool ideas that will attract teenagers and I love that Kathy is open to hearing all of my suggestions… At the same time, I enjoy going to all of these events…I feel like communications skills, getting myself out there, getting exposure, and getting connected with people will help me network. GT20 provides that for me.”

What would you say to someone who is thinking about applying but isn’t sold on the idea just yet?

“I would say an internship looks way better than a volunteer on a [college] resume. Also, the fact that you’re a teenager working for an organization that revolves around teens benefits.”

Continue Reading

GiveTeens20® is looking for interns!

Ribbon cutting picture

Kathy and the Student Advisory Council.


GiveTeens20®, an education non-profit, is currently looking for 10 enthusiastic, creative minds to join our Student Council Advisory Internship this year. If you are a hardworking freshmen or sophomore in high school and not afraid to voice out your opinions, this internship is definitely for you. This internship is unpaid, but you will learn about business and your strengths will be enhanced. Volunteer hours will be available for your great work.

As a SAC member, you will…

  • Help guide the direction of GiveTeens20® (your opinion matters A LOT)
  • Participate in events and special projects
  • Attend monthly meetings

GiveTeens20® is an education non-profit that encourages and equips teens with no-cost, easy-to-use tools and resources to help them find their career ‘fit’.

If you are interested in applying, fill out our application here. If you have further questions, please email us at . We hope to hear from you all soon!

Financial Aid Awards: Can You Spot the Differences?

Two Toads - Financial Aid Award LettersYour applications are complete.  Admission and financial aid offers are starting to come in.  It can be confusing to decipher exactly what portion of the awards are free and which come with a cost.

On average private colleges discount 46% of college tuition for first-year applicants.  Wow, it sounds like a decent chunk of the cost, but every college–whether public or private–has a customized formula for awarding financial aid; every student is subject to a different amount.

A quick reminder: You must complete the FAFSA as well as the CSS Profile (for some colleges) to qualify for all available financial aid.  Along with assessing your need-based aid it’s a requirement for many colleges–such as Stanford)–to apply for financial aid  in order to receive an award letter.

Award Letters: The Equation

As you sift through financial aid award letters, it’s important to figure out exactly what your financial offer is.  How much money must you pay back and what amount is handed to you for free?

This leaves you with your Out-of-Pocket Cost:

Total Cost of Attendance – Gift Aid (Scholarships + Grants) = Out-of-Pocket Cost

Note that if you research award letters, the terms Out-of-Pocket Cost and Net Cost are used interchangeably.

Keep in mind that:

  • All freshmen qualify for $5,500 in total direct loans (unsubsidized plus subsidized).
  • All college students qualify for Parent PLUS Loans up to the Cost of Attendance minus all other financial aid offered.
  • There are private loans available today (most recently from credit unions) many which have more favorable features than the Parent PLUS Loan.

A nice free tool available to contrast costs is FinAid’s Award Letter Comparison Tool, which allows you to input information for 3 different colleges simultaneously.

Quick Tips

  • Add up all expenses: tuition, room and board, materials such as books, fees, and other necessities.
  • Separate gift aid from loans.
  • Double-check your net price. If the college lists a total, recognize that the college may figure in loans.
  • Assess your out-of-pocket cost via the formula above, if a net price is missing.

While there are multiple factors to consider when choosing your college, it’s unquestionably important to understand the financial commitment you and your family will face.

This blog was provided by Westface College Planning.  For more tips and information, sign up for a free College Funding workshop or webinar or call us at (650) 587-1559.

Photo Credit: Matt Reinbold