JUMP! intern Mary Bechtol shares her experience being a part of the office and observing her first JUMP! program.

This is my junior year as an undergraduate student, and while I am studying abroad primarily to learn Chinese it was also a goal of mine to find related work experience during my stay in Beijing. I heard about JUMP! through a friend who interned here last semester, and after listening to her rave about JUMP’s positive people and powerful purpose, I couldn’t help but contact the office inquiring about any future opportunities where I could get involved.

I have been with JUMP! for about one month now. The first time I came to the office I was pretty nervous, like first days always are, but after meeting the staff and seeing them joke around, I felt silly thinking that an organization based on leadership and acceptance would have unfriendly or judgmental team members. The office is an open space, both literally and figuratively, where no walls exist, making communication between one another comfortable and the sharing of ideas natural.

My work responsibilities over the past few weeks have included tasks like formatting Word and Excel documents, updating social media pages, and researching schools for future partnerships. This past weekend, though, I got my first real look at what happens on site of a JUMP! program.

The Beijing City International School (BCIS) scheduled a Level 2 Middle School program, which was organized by two of JUMP’s awesome facilitators: Austin and Justin. The group was small, only 7 kids, but in turn provided a unique situation where along with observing how the program was run, I got to participate in challenges as well! The challenges we took part in began with developing personal leadership skills and built on these skills, ending with ways to build trust within a community. Watching Austin and Justin facilitate was an experience in itself. They facilitate in their own unique ways and are able to get through to the students through different forms of non-verbal and verbal communication. The questions they asked after challenges got conversations flowing about why we do what we do and how we can modify these traits to become a leader. Besides watching the facilitators, it was also awesome to see the change in the students over those two days. Austin had worked with the same group during their Level 1 Program, and mentioned how a few of the kids were quiet and reserved those few months ago, something after seeing them share thoughts and take charge I could not believe! Even though the program is over the students are planning a group project that will positively impact the BCIS community, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

JUMP’s mission statement of inspiring, empowering, and engaging global youth fits not only with my interests as an International Studies major and love for new things, but also with my hopes of what the future youth will bring. I’m so happy to be working with such an interactive and interesting organization!  Let’s get JUMPing!

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