Project SELF (Summer Employment in Law Firms) is a paid, eight-week summer internship that was initiated in 1995 to give youth the opportunity to explore professional careers within the legal community. The program places qualified high school juniors in law firms and law-related businesses in Orange County, CA. These deserving students are consequently introduced to a professional working experience while enhancing their knowledge, experience, and self-esteem.
Project SELF targets students who are entering their senior year of high school in the city of Santa Ana. We have found that the program helps our target population by reducing their risk of juvenile delinquency and providing positive life and career options. The Project SELF opportunity is so important because it exposes youth to professional career fields that they would not otherwise be exposed to. Because of their socioeconomic conditions and cultural limitations, most of these students cannot achieve this exposure without some assistance. They desperately need adult role models and mentors, and they need to know that it is possible for them to go on to college and establish successful careers. Project SELF addresses these needs by providing youth with positive alternatives for spending their summers, access to a professional career environment, and positive mentors to help them with goal setting and preparation for the future.
Upon completing the program, many Project SELF interns have been hired to work at the law firms they once interned for. Most go off to college, and at least three participants have continued on to law school. Through Project SELF, the legal community continues to make a significant impact on the lives of Santa Ana youth every year.
If you would like to apply for the Project SELF program, you must be a high school student entering the 12th grade in the fall at a local Santa Ana high school. For an application, you can contact the Higher Education Counselor at your high school or Nancy Garcia at Project Youth at (714) 480-1925, ext. 108.