This article was written by Leslie David, BenitoLink executive director.
When Francisco Romero started as an intern with BenitoLink, the nonprofit news website based in San Benito County had just changed platforms. We were required to move six years of articles, commentaries, obituaries and announcements to WordPress, and things at first were kind of a mess.
Francisco, who was raised in Hollister, was a software engineering student at San Jose State University. He came to us as an intern, but gradually took on full responsibility for the website and even trained the next web intern.
Thankfully, Webstrim, a website development company in San Juan Bautista, offered to assist BenitoLink and Francisco as he took on more responsibility. Within months he was managing the technical side of the whole site.
Francisco has been involved with BenitoLink for a year and a half. Last week, he let us know he will be leaving to start a full-time job with Amazon.
Francisco is one of many BenitoLink interns getting on-the-job experience and preparing for a successful career. Our Inclusionx youth training program is partially funded by the Monterey Peninsula Foundation/AT&T Golf Tour, Taylor Farms, United Way and the Emma Bowen Foundation.
In June, BenitoLink brought on Kurt Higa, a new computer intern from UC-Santa Cruz, and Francisco trained him throughout the summer. Kurt was able to work directly with Francisco and learn about doing design work and running a local news website.
“I really appreciated the opportunity to work with Francisco and the team and I learned a lot about news,” Kurt said.
As a local nonprofit news website, we not only benefit from youth who are developing work skills, but from the life experiences they bring to BenitoLink. By listening to them, we expand our perspective on issues and the way we report them. The BenitoLink Inclusionx Internship program is a unique and positive form of engagement with San Benito youth.
“Working for BenitoLink has been a great learning experience. It’s helped me learn new skills on the fly and taught me how to adapt to changes,” Francisco said. “Thank you BenitoLink for allowing me to take on more responsibility and entrusting me with making improvements to the site.”
The Romero family came to San Benito County in the 1970s. Francisco’s parents worked in agriculture for over 30 years. All three of their children are college educated.
Francisco will be relocating out of the county for his new job. He is excited to experience living somewhere new and meet people from all over the world. It’s a time for him to explore and take on new challenges. Still, he said he will always be attached to his home community and his family base. He also said he can imagine coming back some day, when the time is right.
Help us bring on more interns! As a local nonprofit news organization, BenitoLink needs community support to continue developing important local programs like our Inclusionx intern training program. You can keep it going strong by going to our BenitoLink donation page.