PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — It’s been a summer of leadership for a couple of Tampa Bay teenagers. In recognition of their hard work inside the classroom and out in the community, they were awarded paid internships on behalf of the Bank of America Student Leaders program.
What started out as board games in June has blossomed into great big smiles and hugs in August. It’s been quite the internship for Cameron Siler-Nixon and Kate Martin at the Boys and Girls Club of the Suncoast.
“Cameron and I have learned so much; we’ve had that great mentorship experience with all of the employees here and connecting with the kids one on one,” said Martin.
“When I was growing up I didn’t really have any role models that looked like me in the STEM community so just setting a path that others can walk along is so important,” said Siler-Nixon.
Out of more than 100 applications throughout Tampa Bay, Kate and Cameron were among the four chosen as Bank of America Student Leaders.
“It is very competitive. These students blow our minds away; they continue to inspire even us as adults to do better every day,” said Demmeri Gallon, with Bank of America. “What is it that they are doing to drive change? How are the students looking outside of themselves, looking at the needs of the community, the needs of their peers.”
“I thought it was a long shot, to be honest, and when I got it, I was like, ‘wow I can’t really pass up this opportunity,’” said Siler-Nixon.
They have both been very active in the homeless community. Kate, who will be a senior at Clearwater Central Catholic, has taught more than 80 women and children how to sew and given away more than 1,000 Blanket Wraps in her hometown of Detroit.
“In the beginning, we had a really hard time connecting with the community because a lot of them didn’t respect us because we were so young, but my sister and I wanted to show them even though you are young you can make an impact,” said Martin.
While Cameron revived the Black Student Union at Steinbrenner High School, where she just graduated from.
“So there we focus just on building a safe community for those black students and making them know their voice is important and their opinion should be heard,” said Siler-Nixon.
These leaders both have dreams of pursuing careers in the medical field to help even more people. They said this recognition and internship let them know they’re on the right track.
“It only takes one person to inspire and be the change driver for the next generation coming up,” said Gallon.