05 Nov Meet Intern Najeedah Johnson
Najeedah Johnson is a 2015 graduate of Thomas Edison High School and one of our recent interns at Rêve Academy. She is one of the most personable, outgoing and driven students we’ve had the pleasure of working with. This fall, she entered MCTC as a freshman with a goal to graduate from a four-year out-of-state college. She also started an exciting new job that allows her to pursue her passion for her community.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about who you are, and what you are passionate about?
My name is Najeedah Johnson and I am a Public Ally at Public Allies Twin Cities, where I am placed at the Pillsbury United Communities Executive Office. I worked for Rêve Academy this past summer. I am very passionate about my community and what I am doing now involves a lot of community engagement. I can’t wait to get that started in my new job and to get out into the community and talk to people.
What brought you to Rêve Academy?
What brought me to Rêve Academy was StepUpMPLS. I looked it up online and saw that Rêve Academy had a really great program for interns. So we scheduled a phone interview, and then an in-person interview. It was really amazing: being at Rêve Academy has changed my whole perception of my future career, and what I actually really want to do.
Looking back to your time at the Academy, what do you feel is the most important thing you have learned?
One: business meetings! What I started doing immediately at my new place of work is running business meetings. I tell everybody: I know how to run them, let me do it, let me do it! Second is branding. We have a new business coming up and we have to brand it—what we want people to feel when they go to the store, what we want them to do. The branding exercise that we did at the Academy for a whole week has really opened my mind to a whole new prospect.
Najeedah, before this Q&A, you have been very open with us and have expressed interest in sharing your story. Do you want us to tell us a little bit more about your experience while you were at the Academy?
I don’t think any of you knew this at the time, but I lived in a homeless shelter during my time at the Academy. I just recently left in September. The shelter was a really good place, for youth of ages 16-21 and they are really trying to help you and get you on with your life. There were some good mentors there—I still stay in contact with them, and I still go there once every week just to talk to people, because I’ve built such a close relationship with them. You know, being homeless was not a bad experience, because you realize what you have and what you don’t have, and how to cherish the things that you do have. You know, we take a lot of things for granted, and I really think this experience made me a whole-hearted person.
Thank you for being so open about this experience. Let’s talk about your future! Has your internship at RA influenced your plans?
My internship influenced my personal business. I’ve started my own graphic and web design business and working with Rêve Academy—and specifically, using Illustrator and doing more web design—really influenced me. I feel like my insides are burning to do more of this. And I am using a lot of these skills at my new job now and I plan to keep building on them.
So, what are your plans for the future?
I have big plans, but also a lot of interests. I want to go to school for Computer Science and Engineering, but recently I have thought about switching to culinary arts or graphic arts. So that’s still up in the air. But I know I do want to get a degree in Computer Science and Engineering, so that I can develop a software that can help my community and third world countries to get the technology they need in order to survive in the pursuit of their lives. So, that’s pretty much my future: I just want to do good things for good people.