High School

Senior Internships

Weekly Updates

List of 5 items.

  • Russell - 3/28/23

    193. I have worked 193 quality hours so far during my senior internship. Simultaneously, I have continued my part-time work as the Special Events Director at a local bakery. Six weeks into my job at the senior home, I feel as if I have made a lasting impact on my residents in memory care. The seniors truly recognize and appreciate my daily involvement and commitment to their health and overall lives. Recently, with our jam-packed days of activities, the residents have been so stimulated that they began to fall asleep during dinner! I continue to enjoy connecting with families as they visit, which is certainly an enriching aspect of my job because I feel even more connected to the residents I care for every day.
    Our visit from the corporate office and investors of our parent company was a phenomenal experience. Our entire community’s work was being showcased, from department to department and from individual to individual. Although I was so nervous in the beginning of the day, everything went smoothly and properly - just as our community operates on all other days when we do not have important visitors. Our next visit will be sometime in April.
    A recent memorable activity was working with a smaller group of Jewish residents. We worked together on making a shopping list for Passover because it is never too early to start shopping. We spoke about our family traditions and customs as we bonded over classic Pesach dishes like Matzah Ball Soup and Brisket. This activity allowed the residents to focus on their distinctive histories and be stimulated in a productive manner. We truly had a meaningful group conversation that was lively and purposeful for our team of six.
    Welcoming in the spring weather is at the top of the agenda this week. We have two gardening classes scheduled as we begin to plant seeds for vegetables and flowers to uplift our outdoor activity space. We will begin to transition the Walking Club to take place outside over the upcoming weeks - a highly anticipated change! 
    I recently completed my eight-hour company orientation this past week. I received valuable insight into senior care, with a focus on safety. Before I begin every activity, I always ask myself if everything is safe for the group I am working with and I anticipate what could be some possible quirks with the safety of an activity. We learned how the CDC defines proper hand washing in long-term care facilities and I also got fitted for an N-95 mask! We heard from every single department head and for each department we discussed possible situations that may arise and how we can handle them in a safe, yet also productive manner. The senior living company stresses life-long learning, so I will continue to grow and develop new and improved skills over the course of the next few weeks. Another notable part of orientation was that everyone was twice my age!
    I am looking forward to my couple of days off for the Passover Seders to be able to rest and participate in two seders with my extended family. I continue to plan our first ever Charoset Making Class with the seniors, as well as discussing with our Rabbi which foods and songs would be ideal for our seder together. The Rabbi and I have designed a delicious menu and a meaningful service together that will take place in early April.
  • Ava – 3/15/23

    It is the middle of week four of my internship, and I am learning a lot throughout this experience so far, more than I anticipated. I have been involved with Stagedoor Manor since I was thirteen years old, which is why interacting with what goes on behind the scenes while campers are not at camp is fascinating, and it is hard work. As a result, I have a much deeper appreciation for everything that my camp does.
    In these past two weeks, I took a minimal step back from social media and marketing to dive into education. I met with the new head of the education department to go over the seventy classes that are being offered this summer. We discussed each class in great detail and brainstormed ways to make the classes the most beneficial but also fun to the students.
    I raised the idea that I am incredibly interested in teaching when I am older and in between acting jobs, and Nick, the head of the education department, taught me how he makes a syllabus for a class and how he generally constructs a curriculum, which I practiced on my own. Nick and I also discussed ways to make the education at Stagedoor more accessible and up to date, not only in classes but in the rehearsal room as well, so I found resources on intimacy training and how to properly deal with intimacy in the shows that we perform; a new concept for a lot of the directors.
    I found great success in these past two weeks and realized how interested I am in education, and most importantly, how much excitement it brings me. That excitement carries over into independent work, and I don’t feel as though it is necessarily homework or a chore.
    What challenged me this week was keeping up with social media at the same time. It sounds facetious, but social media is a huge undertaking. Stagedoor Manor uses four platforms. We not only have to check them multiple times a day, but we also have to post multiple times a day, and each platform has a different style of posting and caters to different content. Social media is extremely important because this is how we keep campers engaged and excited, and this is how we advertise our camp to newcomers. I was so busy with education that I pushed it aside briefly and lost some momentum.
    In the next two weeks, I am working with a new facet of Stagedoor Manor, a program called College Connection. College Connection is designed to help students with everything related to the BFA college audition process, which I conveniently just went through. I am going to help market College Connection as well as become an outlet to the students using College Connection; a tool since I just auditioned for handfuls of BFA programs. I am excited to work with this area of Stagedoor in the next couple of weeks because it is super fresh for me and a topic I am really educated on and feel passionate about. 
  • Russell – 3/14/23

    As I begin my fourth week at the assisted living facility, I feel passionate about the work I have been able to accomplish, and I look forward to my continued contributions and growth. I routinely meet with my boss every morning and evening to debrief on each day’s successes and what can be improved based on resident responses. We continue to work together to plan exciting and brand-new activities like a Saint Patrick’s Day Shamrock Cookie Decorating and a meaningful Megillah reading where many residents took roles. I recently found really cool DIY plane kits, so for some of the gentlemen, we had a plane making class and then later a fun and interactive plane flying competition. We have gone through about 20+ canvases this past week as our crafty corner has been at full capacity with fun painting classes that are accompanied by fresh strawberry and banana smoothies and 60s music.
    I have discovered firsthand that working with memory care residents can be deeply exhausting and mentally draining at times, but it leaves me with a gratifying feeling that I am doing a mitzvah, elevating the lives of over 20 seniors. For the majority of my eight-hour day, I am on my feet, which has definitely been a challenge. This makes me put an extra importance on recharging when I come home every night so that I can make sure I have enough energy each day. I am still learning that my new job can be draining in different ways than school and that changes to my normal routine are necessary to adapt to the nature of full-time senior care.
    Once a month, a group of members from the corporate team come to tour our facility to make sure that everything is running smoothly. They can tour my section of the facility at any time during the day and I must instantly be ready to connect with them. This provides me with phenomenal experience for interacting with the leaders of a company and being able to showcase the impressive work that I have accomplished over the past few weeks in a comprehensive, yet also concise manner.
    Recently, our mornings have been jam-packed with Exercise Class, My Life My Story, and Walking Club. Our exercise classes usually range from 14-18 residents engaged in stretching, using exercise balls, weightlifting, dancing with streamers, and some trivia mixed in during our rest breaks. My Life My Story is a really meaningful program where we focus on the unique life of one resident each week and have group conversations about their accomplishments and family traditions. It’s a great way for the residents to connect with one another and to honor each other’s distinct personalities and lifestyles. Our Walking Club ends our morning together before lunch and includes fun 70s music and energetic exercise tunes. We usually aim for 3-5 laps as I stress the importance of exercise on a routine basis for maintaining good health. Many times, residents will question the necessity of our exercise and walking activities, but I continue to reiterate its significance to staying healthy.
    Looking ahead to the coming weeks, my boss and I have a lot in store. Our new programming ranges from Passover events to planting flowers as we look forward to welcoming the spring weather and all the new activities that we can experience together outside.
  • Ava — 3/1/23

    I am about to conclude the second week of my internship with Stagedoor Manor, and I am having an incredibly positive, productive experience thus far.

    I began my internship with a supervisory meeting on what it is going to look like. My supervisor and I mapped out my internship into sections: education, accessibility, social media, and performance/professionalism. In the past two weeks, I have been focusing on social media and accessibility because those are the two areas I am most comfortable and familiar with.

    I have been successful in the sense that I learned how to manage my time with trial and error. Social media is very independent, and I have been lucky to be trusted with all of the social media platforms and essentially “do my own thing.” I have been able to get my theater camp a lot of attention on TikTok and SnapChat so far, which is really exciting for me and the new campers that are coming this year. I also set up multiple social media takeovers with alumni who are in current Broadway shows, which has been getting positive feedback as well. 

    I spoke in depth with my supervisor on how to make Stagedoor more accessible with mental health awareness, learning disabilities (which is important to discuss when it comes to learning lines and being in a professional setting), and food (allergies, dietary needs, people who cannot find anything to eat while they are at camp, etc.) We brainstormed ways we can work on this and it is an ongoing conversation. I discussed having grab-and-go fruit available at all times, counselor check-ins, a yogurt parfait bar in the morning, granola bars as a nighttime snack, and more. All of my ideas were received very well and I am eager to continue going down that path.
    In the next two weeks, I will be moving on to the education department, which I am both nervous and excited for. I am nervous because the education department at Stagedoor is very intense and serious. I have no experience with education, but I am excited to access this area because I know that I am the voice and perspective the department needs to rely on. Stagedoor has rarely been in such close contact with a camper regarding education and how to improve it; this is very unique to not only me but to them, and I know the education department is looking forward to the collaboration. 

    The challenges I am encountering and anticipate is the fact that a lot of my internship so far has been independent. Loneliness aside, I am working on managing my time appropriately, not getting caught up in one aspect of the internship, and also finding time to take care of myself. For the most part, I choose my own hours which is both amazing and difficult. I get to decide when I work in between my acting classes, but I have very little given structure, and having structure is important for my sanity. 
  • Russell — 2/27/23

    Transitioning from working part-time at a local small business to working full-time at a large eldercare facility was something I anticipated being somewhat challenging. However, with my five years of volunteer experience as the Head Volunteer of an assisted living facility in North Jersey, I knew I had the necessary knowledge to begin my full-time work as an Assistant Activities Director. At my old part-time job, I was working random hours without a consistent schedule, so the organization of my new 40-hour work week, Sunday through Thursday, was immensely comforting. Furthermore, at my old job, I was frequently “on call” due to the nature of event planning, so having my work stay at my new workplace was crucial to adding more structure to my day. I was very sad to leave my old team that I had grown close to for many years, but this led me to be excited for the challenges of adapting to working and growing with a new team. 
    On my first day, I was welcomed in with big smiles by my new boss, care managers, and staff in the business office. My boss and I were excited for the new journeys we would embark on together and I was beaming with a huge smile on my face as we got right to work. Minutes later, I met my large group of residents in Reflections, a Memory Care section, that I will work with over the next three months. Working in Memory Care is difficult because many times residents may not understand who I am and they may want nothing to do with any activities, but I must keep trying to elevate and enrich their final years. 
    Over the past few days, I got right to work sorting through 20 different cabinets to take an inventory of the current activities supplies we have and what specific items we needed to order. Then, I received my set of eight keys and my walkie talkie and felt like the true Assistant Activities Director that I am! A highlight of my day is individually connecting with residents, such as asking them about a special vacation or a favorite type of cuisine, and these conversations often turn into meaningful 30-minute chats! I also enjoy leading exercise activities with the residents, and I am excited that we are starting to learn a dance routine to old 70s songs that we will practice every morning and eventually schedule a time for when families can view a performance. Also, I have led a few arts and crafts activities. My favorite was a painting activity we did while looking out the windows to the setting sun and trying to replicate it with our five colors. Lastly, I have been working on programming for Passover, including a brand-new Charoset Making Class! 
    I love that regardless of residents' mental and physical abilities, there is still a huge focus on the unique capabilities and abilities of each individual resident. At the end of the day, I have check-in meetings with my boss to focus on my growth at the senior home and to plan completely new activities that I will lead. I am overjoyed with all of the meaningful experiences that my first two weeks have brought, and I look forward to many new opportunities in the coming weeks.