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Giving Back: The White House Internship Program

Ed. note: The application for the Summer 2013 White House Internship Program is now open. This blog post introduces readers to Simon Boehme, a former intern who worked in the Office of Management and Administration in the summer of 2011. When asked about his internship experience, Simon writes:

When people ask about my time as a White House intern, a smile emerges before I say anything at all. After a rush of nostalgia, I often refer to the extraordinary opportunities and memories forged throughout my time as an intern. But, what resonates most, when reflecting on my internship experience, is the importance of always giving back.

Inspired by the President and the First Family’s commitment to helping others and making America stronger, White House interns play an integral role in furthering this mission. In addition to the opportunity to work in one of 16 different departments in the White House, interns also participate in community service projects throughout Washington, D.C. For example, within the first week of my internship, my fellow interns and I helped clean a local park, and over the course of the term, our service expanded to serving at food banks, supporting the elderly and tutoring schoolchildren.

President Obama waves goodbye after talking with summer interns from the White House Internship Program

President Barack Obama waves goodbye after talking with summer interns from the White House Internship Program in the Rose Garden of the White House, Aug. 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

As I learned from my internship experience, meaningful work takes place both in the hallways of the office and on the dirt pathways of a local park. One can make a difference at the White House by contributing at meetings, staffing events, and by engaging the broader community. As a White House intern, standing at the intersection of these two worlds was an empowering feeling.

In my life, I have never experienced the intersection of macro and micro level change with such intrepidness. Public service has always had a special place in my heart, but through the White House Internship Program, I took my passion to a new level. I would encourage anyone with a willingness to give back to his or her community and country to apply to the White House Internship Program.