After six weeks of intense competition, the winner of the YMCA Intern Challenge is announced. Ariadna Fernandez took the title and heard the coveted words, “You’re hired!”
Presenting sponsor, Rockford University, hosted the competition finale with about 100 people in attendance.
Fernandez will be a sophomore at Rock Valley College and is studying engineering. She receives a $1,500 college scholarship and a paid internship worth up to $5,000 with the organization of her choosing. Nia Neal came in second place and receives a $1,000 college scholarship. The third place $500 college scholarship went to Andrea Bent.
The YMCA Intern Challenge started in 2012 as a way to approach mentorship and training of the younger generation in our community. This year there were 50 applicants, 12 were selected to participate in the challenge.
Our 2018 sponsors include presenting sponsor Rockford University, SupplyCore, Trotter Manufacturing/Gigi’s Playhouse, Rockford Public Schools 205, Rockford IceHogs, Northwest Bank, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Thayer Lighting, Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, Stillman Bank, Rockford City Market and Park Lanes. The interns worked with many of the organizations as they created marketing plans, built recruitment plans, raised funds and more on a variety of topics geared towards each business’ needs.
“As an educational institution, we value the importance of developing one's self. It is for this reason that Rockford University is involved in the YMCA Intern Challenge,” said Rockford University President Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D. “We can see how the students grow throughout the process, hone their skills and make new connections. Whether they are finishing high school, heading off to college or beginning their career - this experience will no doubt prepare them for the next step.”
In addition to their weekly challenges, as a group, the interns:
· Raised $3,550 for local charities
· Raised $3,174 for the YMCA Annual Campaign
· Sold over 700 ducks for the Rockford IceHogs and the Anything That Floats Race
· Collected 98 supply items for Noah’s Ark Sanctuary
· Collected 208 items for Gigi’s Playhouse
In its first six years, the YMCA has exposed more than 90 students to local opportunities, provided $18,000 in college scholarships, paid more than $30,000 in stipends to contestants, and provided more than 21,000 hours of service to local businesses and organizations through project challenges.
To learn more about the YMCA Intern Challenge, visit www.ymcainternchallenge.com.