Today is the last day for me as an intern at NYRA’s office. But the battle for youth rights should never stop. Before involved with NYRA, I didn’t even notice that there are so many discriminations against the youth in the society. Everyone has been young. But as we grow up, we forgot how it was like to be young.

Among all NYRA concerned issues, I am particularly interested in lowering the drinking age. Before I came to the U.S., I have heard a lot about teen drinking issues especially the news story of former President Bush’s twin daughters got caught drinking alcohol. I think that story occupied the front page of the “International” section for a week. Maybe it is difficult for me to understand American teens’ desire to lower the drinking age because I grew up in a totally different culture. I have learned that alcohol is not just wine or beer that get people drunk or unconscious. Instead, certain type of alcohol can be used as a treatment for diseases. I cannot remember when was my first time to drink but I didn’t become an alcoholic because I drank at an early age. In fact, from what I have learned, young children normally don’t like the taste of alcohol. They prefer coke or juice. At NYRA, I was exposed to different kinds of youth issues in the U.S. If I was not interning here, I might still have the old thoughts toward American teens based on movies and TV series.

Working in the office of NYRA, I have learned a lot about not just youth rights issues but also how a non-profit organization operates. We have a saying in China, “Sparrow, although small, five organs all complete” (麻雀雖小,五臟齊全). To me, NYRA’s office seems to be a sparrow: it is small but functioning efficiently as those giant animals do, such as elephants or whales. Since it is a small office, you can always listen to the strategic discussion between the executive director and the director of development and operation. And, they encouraged interns to jump in and contribute their own thoughts. Moreover, I was encouraged to participate in several outreach director interviews which gave me to the chance to re-think interviews and candidates from the perspective of employers.

To me, it is a great experience working here. Today is the last day at the office. I remember a quote from my teacher a few years ago. And, I think it is suitable as the end of my story:

This is not the end.
This is not the beginning of the end.
Maybe this is the end of the beginning.

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