For six weeks, a group of high school students sporting green “Children’s Bureau Pro 100” shirts worked on Martin University’s campus as part of an internship with the Children’s Bureau. All of their hard work has culminated into a beautiful campus landscape that Martin University students can enjoy for years to come.
At the Pro 100 Internship Celebration, the Martin University group took away the distinction of having the best project.
Throughout the internship, Pro 100 interns have laid bricks, spread mulch, planted flowers and picked through tough rock in order to highlight the features of Martin University’s campus.
“I was very pleased to learn that the landscape project completed at Martin University was voted ‘best project’ of the summer,” David Vanderstel, the Martin University executive director of advancement, said. “Martin University was very proud to have hosted this fine group of local students.”
The Pro 100 internship program is now in its 30th year. It is conducted by the Children’s Bureau and was founded by Eugene and Marilyn Glick.
The Pro 100 internship accepts 100 students each year. Preference is given to low-economic Indianapolis school-based students ages 14 to 18. The goal of the paid internship is to engage the students in youth employment and enrichment programs.
“It began with Eugene Glick getting the students out to Indianapolis Parks and public golf courses to do basic landscaping. The mentality was to keep them busy and out of trouble,” said John Bennett, executive vice president of the Children’s Bureau. “We’ve evolved to incorporate a computer component so kids go to three hours of computer class a week. We’ve added a youth citizen piece for the last half a dozen years. We’ve now moved away from Indy Parks and moved them on to college campuses locally.”
The Martin University Pro 100 group has been just one segment of the entire group of 100 that have worked at several locations this summer, including Marian University and Ivy Tech Community College.
“It’s about leaving an imprint in the community, which is why we’ve evolved to higher institutions that have the ability to maintain our projects,” Bennett said. “We not only want to get these kids on college campuses so that they can see that we have college opportunities right here in our own city, but we’ve also now asked these higher institutions to commit to keeping these projects maintained after our kids leave.”
In addition to landscaping, students have participated in various leadership, character development and resume building exercises. The skills taught are skills that Koby Bluitt, a sophomore at Broad Ripple High School, will cherish forever.
“This is what teenagers need to be doing, something productive during the summertime. It has helped me to see that college is important and now I’m ready to start making plans,” she said.
Nick Morris, a 17-year-old from Warren Central High School, has been involved in Pro 100 for four years.
“You meet new people and friends that can last a lifetime,” Morris said. “I can’t speak for other teams, but for my team it’s like a family. It’s been difficult but we keep pushing until we get the job done. I love affecting people’s lives so they say I did something positive. Every day we walk through and people just say thank you because we really put our heart into it.”
When it comes to the Martin University group, Vanderstel said that he has encouraged the students to consider Martin University as an option after graduation.
“I’ve already expressed to the program directors at the Children’s Bureau that we want to continue this partnership so that we continue to host students in years to come.”