Hope Life Skills Summer Internships

The summer of 2016.   Another year of internship opportunities

for Hope Life Skills students.  From the corporate offices of one of the America’s largest and most successful companies to the friendly confines of a community bookstore, 5 Hope Life Skills students were learning 21st century skills, expanding their networks of successful professionals and earning money in the process.

 Jose Orellana, Juan Corona, Hafzat Akanni and Valentina Gomez-Rincon

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CVS Health Interns from left to right: Jose Orellana, Juan Corona, CVS Health Amy Propatier – Logistics Pharmacy Services Manager, Hafzat Akanni and Valentina Gomez Rincon

were interns at the corporate headquarters of CVS Health, a $150,000,000,000 (billion!!!) company located in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.  CVS Health is the largest retail pharmacy chain in the United States with 7,800 stores located in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

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Books on the Square Floor Manager, Susan Schlesinger (left) with Maria Dasilva

A short ride from Woonsocket down Route 146 to Providence

Maria Dasilva

interned at one of Providence’s best and most famous local bookstores, Books on the Square, in the Wayland Square neighborhood of Providence’s eastside.  “The experience was fantastic.  I really pushed myself

out of my comfort zone. 

I helped customers find their favorite books, took cash register customer purchases and even helped the bookstore staff with their Excel questions.  The bookstore staff was so helpful and friendly too.  I loved it.  In fact, I took

Mr Cronin’s advice.  I asked

if I could come back to work during this holiday season”  Maria said.  From the feedback I’ve received from Susan Schlesinger and the rest of the Books on the Square staff about Maria, they’ll be very pleased to see her return.

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Maria helps Chris Byrnes with his book purchase.

“I’ll never forget this internship experience at CVS! I

found myself doing things I didn’t think possible; 

I really pushed out of my comfort zone”  Juan Corona commented.

I focused much of my time analyzing data

working with two smart analysts named Joe Balzenelli and Josh Connors.   We looked at customer experiences with CVS.  We examined customer data, created a presentation through Tableau software and then discussed observations based on our analysis of the data.”

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Juan Corona presenting his internship highlights to an audience of 25 people composed of CVS Health staff and Hope Life Skills students.

 Jose Orellana said “because I am considering a career in pharmacy,

I was fortunate to work on pharmacy issues. 

I collected data on pharmacy returns and tracked shipments from CVS distribution centers to the retail stores.  I also received a pharmacist’s career perspective from CVS pharmacist, Beth Masso.  With Beth’s help, I’ll soon be eligible for a part time pharmacy technician position at one of Providence’s CVS stores.  This internship was great and had a huge

impact on my self confidence!”

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Jose Orellana and his two Pharmacy mentors: Beth McIntire (far left) Pharmacy Inventory Planner and Bethany Masso, Pharmacy Inventory Planning Advisor and Jose.

My internship reviewed customer experience data at CVS pharmacies and then segmented their feedback into multiple categories”  Valentina Gomez Rincon explained.  “This internship helped me step

out of my comfort zone

by asking questions and interacting with professional people.

Time management was critical to my success here. 

You really have to manage time well in order to meet expectations.   This will help me as I start looking at different colleges for next year as well as being a successful college student once I get there.” 

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Hope Life Skills interns with CVS Health’s data expert, Josh Connors, the Director of Inventory Analytics, CVS/Pharmacy.  Josh proved to be a powerful mentor for the Hope Life Skills students.

The feedback from the CVS team and Books on the Square staff was consistent;  the Hope Life Skills interns were remarkable.  “Maria did her job very well every day.  She was seemingly fearless when it came to taking care of customers or taking on new tasks.  She regularly took the initiative to do things.   

Maria has an impressive brand”

according to Books on the Square Floor Manager, Susan Schlesinger.   And the Director of Pharmacy Inventory Management at CVS Health, Mike Martel, stated

the Hope Life Skills students were amazing.

They were punctual, responsible, professional and seemingly fearless when it came to introducing themselves to the CVS professional staff they worked with.  They were also curious;  they repeatedly took the initiative to learn new things on their own to help them complete their assigned tasks. 

They’re great networkers! 

And they were collaborative;  they really understood how to work with a team of professionals on a common goal. Our entire CVS team has the utmost respect for the Hope High School Life Skills students and look forward to working with more of them during next summer’s internship program.

What a great brand Hope High School has here at CVS.

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Mike Martel, CVS Health Director of Pharmacy Inventory Management, speaks to an audience of CVS Health employees and Hope Life Skills students about the 2016 Hope Life Skills internship experience prior to the student presentations.

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Hafzat Akanni shares the lessons from her internship. This was the second summer Hafzat worked as a paid intern at the CVS corporate office. Hafzat will be a freshman at Boston University.











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