Intern Spotlight: Kailyne Sarmiento, Yolanda Everson, and Destini Hall

January 28, 2022

CUESA relies on volunteers and interns to help with education programs, and other activities that help fulfill our mission to grow thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn more about internships here and volunteer opportunities here.

December marked the third pandemic semester of Foodwise Teens, a paid job training program where youth build skills to sustain healthy lives and a healthy planet. Last semester, 53 SFUSD high school students engaged in 10 weeks of after-school trainings, learning about food justice, cooking, and gardening. Many students worked at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, supporting market operations and public education. Our three Foodwise Teens interns, Kailyne Sarmiento, Yolanda Everson, and Destini Hall (shown above, left to right) were key to supporting our students in another successful semester of Foodwise Teens.

Without the heart that these three poured into the Fall 2021 Foodwise Teens program, there would be no Foodwise Teens!“ says Education Manager amy huỳnh. “They brought an incredibly student-centered perspective and were always thinking about how to best support our teens. Each intern brought a different skill to the program, which helped us balance each other out: Destini shined in sharing her facilitation expertise with the group. Kai shimmied in with an amazing partnership with Hummingbird Farm and grounded land-based knowledge. Yolanda kept it fresh with her focus on relationship building with the teens.”

“Most importantly, these three not only took their role as youth mentors seriously, but really cultivated a community amongst each other as well,” amy continued. “I am humbled to have witnessed their growth as individuals as well as a community and incredibly grateful to have worked with each of them.” Meet Kai, Yolanda, and Destini.

Kailyne “Kai” Sarmiento: Being an intern for Foodwise Teens has allowed me to build community with a variety of people in San Francisco. I was part of a network of youth, farmers, and workers in different environments at the farmers markets, garden, farm, and classroom. Being able to cross-pollinate and connect Foodwise Teens students to Hummingbird Farm was one of my highlights of my semester! Students were able to see what farming looks like in the city—we worked on the land together, shared the possibilities of collective community power, and shared sustainable food traditions. Being in Foodwise Teens has brought me much joy, solidarity, and care for our visionary youth.

Yolanda Everson: Interning with Foodwise Teens encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and deeper into the San Francisco community. It was lovely working with local farmers, vendors, everyone at CUESA, and especially with the Foodwise Teens. I believe food brings us together because it encourages conversation among those who share a meal and appreciation for all those who helped prepare it. This semester, we were brought closer together not only by sharing meals at the farmers market, but by creating connections with vendors, learning how to cook together, and reflecting on the process it takes for food to reach our plate. I couldn’t have wished for a better experience this semester with our Foodwise Teens, and I’ll always cherish how our memories were strengthened by our choice to support our local community and food system.

Destini Hall: This past fall, I had the honor of interning with the Foodwise Teens program at CUESA! I started with my love of community, curiosity for nutrition, and sense of home at the farmers market. I fell in love with farmers markets when I moved to the Bay Area. I would spend my Saturdays roaming there and eventually met many new friends. It became a stop in my weekly routine. So I thought interning with CUESA would be an amazing opportunity to learn more about the farmers, the foods, and the folks who invest so deeply in the ecosystem of the market. The farmers market community means joy, laughter, and coming together. It means a space to meet other folx from all walks of life while exchanging a good or service that’s been harvested with care, love, and passion. It is truly an act of love.