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COVID-19 Summer Choose 2BKIND Internships

A 12-week internship ended last week as Hurricanes returned to Sam Houston High and some Hurricane alumni began or continued their college in-person and online learning.

COVID-19 challenged residents on San Antonio's Eastside. If there had been no pandemic, residents certainly would have:

  1. Offered Hurricanes an invitation to serve as Choose 2BKIND interns where they would receive three emails each of 12 weeks that started off reminding them to "Choose 2BKIND";

  2. Connected with the Hurricane Class of 2020 valedictorian to ensure that the community benefited from his insights and gifts before he left for college at Prairie View A&M University;

  3. Provided ways for four State-finalist Hurricane Academic Decathletes to share their gifts with fellow Hurricanes and community members;

  4. Involved Hurricane alumni attending an out-of-state Tier One University and an out-of-state college committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need as cheerleaders for 2020 Hurricane grads and rising seniors.

Who's In The Room


We discovered over the 12 weeks of the COVID-19 Summer that internships can transmit a Kindness message on San Antonio’s Eastside.

Each of those weeks, 8 Hurricane alumni and current students received 3 emails that began with “Choose 2BKIND.” Six of them (4 alumni/2 rising seniors) served as Choose 2BKIND interns. Two members of the Class of 2018 served as Kindness enablers. We met via Zoom Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays starting on June 2.

This was not another government program brought in from outside the Eastside. It was not another “needs-based” initiative. It was a simple response to an opportunity to tap into the strengths of Emerging Leaders, most of whom live in ZIP code 78220.

The MIMS Institute Fellows Inc operates out of that ZIP code. Our two themes are: Kindness Matters and Academic Excellence Matters! The donations we receive enable us to share those themes in mainly urban ZIP codes. Our donations come from local caring adults and generous donors from other parts of this great nation. Here is our Donate link.

One of the Choose 2BKIND interns is Payton Gogo, Sam Houston’s Class of 2020 valedictorian. A couple of days after his “There is a disconnect“ commencement speech, we asked him about his summer plans and goals. His response indicated that he was available to share his Kindness gifts with other Hurricanes. Along with a fellow classmate, Payton developed a “Final Year-Senior Mentoring Program” as a Choose 2BKIND intern.

We have other examples of what an Eastside effort to connect with Hurricanes can look like. Two interns participated in an AT&T Summer Learning Academy Externship. This 4-week/80-hour free resource was available to college and college-bound students across the nation during the summer. Mike and Jasiri ensured the Eastside was present and benefited along with over 2,500 other young Americans. Yes, our generous donors enabled them to earn digital badges by providing them with supportive financial incentives.

This summer another intern, Omarien, led classmates in discussions about Tier One Universities. Again, there was some financial incentive for him to do so. Nevertheless, the briefing he produced indicated that a small number of his classmates became aware of the significant investment elite colleges and universities will make in students who dare apply to them. An opportunity exists on the Eastside to spread Kindness by sharing such information to others capable of thriving in uncomfortable/challenging environments.

Four percent of Boy Scouts nationwide reach the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. Melvin, a senior at Sam Houston, is one of them. What happens when he is routinely in a Zoom room with seven other Hurricane Emerging Leaders over the course of 12 weeks? They receive the gifts of Kindness that he has to share like his experiences of living in South Korea, what happens at Texas Boys State, and his summer travels to see family during a COVID-19 summer.

Deziree, a Class of 2019 Hurricane, provided an out-of-state Tier One University presence among the interns. We tapped her gifts as a scholar and sophomore cheerleader at the University of San Diego. She invited her freshman year roommate from California to one of our fellowships so that others could benefit from what positive relationships could be in store for them as well. Additionally, we recognized Dezi’s Kindness as a primary caregiver for an ailing senior citizen in our community.

Abigail and Rosalinda, members of the Class of 2018 joined us as Kindness enablers as their schedules permitted. They provided pictures of what it looks like to be in a Zoom room with Hurricane alumni who study at private colleges. Their Kind presence reminds us that “One of the best ways to show support is to just show up!”

A colleague recently shared that she “can’t believe that it has been five months of limited to no activity due to COVID.” I have to credit Hurricanes for providing me with a different perspective. For 12 weeks, I was active in sharing and receiving a smidgeon of the Gifts of Kindness that are in abundance on the Eastside!

Moving forward, we might explore other ways Choose 2BKIND internships can tap into the gifts/strengths that surround us. We should be able to “Do what we can, where we are, with what we have!” Otherwise, my colleague will be right: There is limited or no activity!

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