DowntownDC BID Hosts SYEP Interns for the 12th Year

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

By Sam Mullins

Keeping parks clean, conducting surveys, learning about finance systems and assisting with website content are just some of the activities that eight D.C. students experienced while interning at the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) and its partner, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, this summer as part of D.C.'s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).   

This summer marks the 12th year the BID has served as a host employer for the program, which is operated through the District Department of Employment Services to provide District youth ages 14 to 21 with summer work experience in local private and government employers. For two of the interns, this is their second summer at the BID.

Our eight interns worked hard this summer and had the opportunity to learn more about what role the BID offers Downtown and how the organization functions.

Learn about each of our eight interns below:

Marquise Adams, 18, Operations

Marquise worked diligently this summer to help keep Downtown clean, safe and friendly as part of the Operations Department. He said he enjoyed keeping the BID in top form and his favorite part of the job was being out and about and meeting new people. Marquise is currently learning welding at school and said he would love to own his own business in the future.

Cierra Grant, 22, Operations

Cierra worked for the BID’s Maintenance team this summer. Her position involved assisting the maintenance employees working to keep the BID safe and clean for citizens, workers and visitors. She said she especially enjoyed maintaining Downtown parks and learning new things about the BID. Cierra attends the Woodstock Job Center, where she focuses on landscaping. She said she hopes to find a good, well-paying job that enables her to pursue her favorite hobbies.

Keyshana Holmes, 19, National Cherry Blossom Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival warmly welcomed Keyshana as an SYEP intern this summer. Keyshana assisted with various research projects, meetings and idea generation for festival events. She said the experience she found most valuable from her time with the organization was discovering how a relatively small team of dedicated individuals can plan and execute an event as large as the Cherry Blossom Festival. A self-professed lover of the fine arts, Keyshana loves design, drawing and crafting. She hopes to earn a degree and work in architecture or interior design.

Kenya Reese, 20, Communications and Human Resources/Administration 

Kenya assisted with both Human Resources/Administration and Communications for the BID, working on a variety of tasks, from data entry and document and email sorting, to photography and contributions to the event section of our website. Kenya was born and raised in D.C. and is a student at the University of the District of Columbia. Her future plans include a master’s degree and a career in social work. Outside of school and work, Kenya enjoys traveling, writing and spending time with family and friends.

Kierra Mann, 20, Finance

Kierra, as part of the Finance Department this summer, provided assistance with check processing, file organizing and a range of other finance responsibilities. She said that the most valuable part of her experience was learning about the manner in which the BID impacts the city as a whole, as well as the day-to-day operations of a non-profit organization. Kierra is an accounting major and will be transferring to the University of the District of Columbia this fall. Kierra describes herself as a well-rounded person who is always willing to learn something new. She is passionate about issues concerning young people and hopes to one day create a children’s foundation for troubled youth.

Jeffery Stone, 19, Operations

Jeffery assisted with the BID’s maintenance program this summer, his second year with the program. He said he enjoyed learning more about the BID and the way the organization operates. Jeffery said he enjoyed maintaining Downtown’s green spaces and was eager to learn about the BID’s plans to renovate Franklin Park. He is attending Allegany College of Maryland and is studying physical therapy. He hopes to be a sports trainer one day and own his own business.

Ronella Williams, 21, Economic Development

The BID was happy to welcome Ronella back for a second summer as an SYEP intern for the Economic Development Department. This year, Ronella served as the primary data collector for the BID’s annual retail survey, which tracks and reports retail activity in the BID area. She stated that she appreciated the opportunities the BID has enabled her to gain by working with various departments and attending events around downtown. Ronella is a criminal justice major at Allegany College of Maryland and is transferring to Prince George's Community College. She hopes to become a crime scene investigator.

Marquisha Williams, 19, Public Space Management

Marquisha worked with the BID’s Public Space Management team this summer on a wide array of projects such as inspecting and reporting on public space issues as well as documenting the condition of drinking fountains Downtown and collecting information about homeless individuals living in the BID. Marquisha is a student at the University of the District of Columbia and is a criminal justice major. A staunch advocate of her community and its safety, she has aspirations to become a law enforcement official and provide care to her hometown community.