by Sierra O’Neal on July 10, 2018
This summer I discovered new hope through the Hire KC Youth internship program. I dropped everything to seize the opportunity once extended. I found out about Hire KC through my sibling who had interned with the program the previous year. I was offered a wonderful opportunity through Hire KC Youth to work with BNIM, an architectural design firm, as a studio intern. Since the first day of my intern position, I have continued striving towards getting back in school and learning how to “Build Positive” through the BNIM organization.
This journey has not been easy. My college experience was challenging to say the least. Without financial aid, I was compelled to spend a large portion of my college experience living on somebody else’s couch. I was determined to stay in school even though I struggled to make ends meet and cover the most basic items. Battling to get stipends and grants, for the most part, I was able to guarantee I could keep going to my classes; eating and clothing – basics – were still hard to come by though. Eventually, however, I was evicted and technically homeless, couch-surfing with a friend. As I started gaining ground towards my degree, a car accident put my studies on hold for a year, and I need to come home to KCMO my senior year of college. Building Positive sums up my story…. in spite of obstacles, we keeping moving forward.
The first impression I had from BNIM was at my interview. Between the work environment, culture, and each employee I met made want to work in the space forever! BNIM’s mission is “to Build Positive” but it’s a quote to live by every day you come to the office. The best part of my internship with BNIM is the network gained from the numerous development opportunities that are presented to each intern daily.
The day I met Jeremy Knoll (project manager) was when I knew BNIM would change my life. Jeremy took me under his wing from day one and has continued to push me to look beyond design as well as given me many contacts that can help further develop me along the way. I met Jeremy over lunch on my first day, and we connected over a basement project and our immediate affinity for sustainability.
Since then we have been working together on several projects and walking many site locations. There are many employees at BNIM who have encouraged me and are continuously grooming me today. This is the reason that BNIM is a life-changing experience and because of Hire KC Youth, I can use all the new knowledge gained in every area to further develop and prepare me for a successful career in (Holistic) Urban Planning and Development ahead. Thanks to BNIM, “Build Positive” is my new motto, and I intend to keep building no matter what.