Bronx students take advantage of law and finance internships

Michelle Butler, teacher at The Bronx School of Law and Finance
Courtesy of Michelle Butler

As COVID-19 is surging again forcing schools to continue to teach remotely, some students are taking advantage of a program that will have them prepared for college and beyond.

Since 1980, NAF, a national network of education, business and community leaders has been partnering with low-income communities by implementing NAF academies within existing high schools.

With tracks in finance, hospitality and tourism, and several STEM-related fields including high-demand industries like healthcare and IT, high school students can explore career paths that interest them at a time when the typical school environment is uncertain. Part of this program involves internships, which have continued during the pandemic.

“The fact that it is going virtual is such a relief,” said Dr. Jessica Goring, principal of The Bronx School of Law and Finance, which has had NAF Academy at its school since it opened in 2003.

Doing the internships from home kids are working on interview skills, how to act in a workplace and gaining valuable employment and life skills.

Goring and Michelle Butler, finance coordinator and teacher, spoke with the Bronx Times about the impact of NAF.

“We’re trying to prepare them not just for the world of finance, but for a career outside of high school,” Butler explained.

She said students that participate in NAF learn about borrowing money, saving, budgeting, the difference between a credit and debit card, resume writing and get real life experience that will help them choose or shape their career.

Goring said NAF has had a profound impact on the students who participate. Many youths go to college unsure of what they want to do, but through this program they often get on the right path.

“We definitely have had students that have gone into finance as their career,” she stated. “We have a lot of successful alum who still give back to the school and they all had the experience with NAF.”

One of the teens who participated in the program was Florisbel Molina, 17, a senior, from Kingsbridge. In 2019 she did an internship with Work, Learn and Grow (WLG), which taught her about career exploration and prepared her for college.

She even learned about how to manage money and buy a house and get a good debit or credit card. Molina noted that too many kids her age spend money hastily, but now she has the knowledge of how to budget.

With college coming in the fall and dreams working in a hospital one day, she feels NAF gave her a head start on her future.

“It makes me feel good and prepared,” Molina said. “Coming into college is never easy. Having all this work experience helps you realize how the real world is.”

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