At Rêve Academy, Choua discovered her own American Dream.

Choua decided to change her major after two summers at Rêve Academy.

“I interned as an IT assistant before coming here and discovered that I love business. IT wasn’t my favorite, so I tried finance next—but that wasn’t my passion either.

I wanted to do something with art and digital design. After working at Rêve Academy and doing graphic design for clients, I realized that this is what I want to do. I’m going to double major in marketing and graphic design, so when I graduate, I can work in a marketing team and bring design skills as well.”

I am…

// 18
// Honest, outgoing, hard worker
// A student at St. Cloud State University

I dream of…

// Helping my parents have a better life

Posing with her intern team and YMCA executives; getting feedback from a volunteer on her business idea.

She embodied the value of Empathy.

“At first I thought senior interns had to be super professional, so the way I talked to my team was very formal. But then I thought, ‘I should get into their shoes.’ I tried to be their friend, not just their boss.

Some of my students don’t talk much, and I didn’t want to shame them for that. Instead I asked other team members to get the whole group talking and sharing ideas. Another idea I tried was having my quiet interns sit by someone who was really talkative, and then encouraging the louder person to help the quieter students speak up.

I thought that leading a team would be hard. And it is, but I’m able to understand them and their attitude. Maybe the reason I’m able to lead is because my interns help. Anything I ask them to do, they do.”

Choua and her teammates showing off their business idea at Revival, a one-day accelerator for digital professionals.

She ventured into the unknown to honor her family.

When I was asked to be a senior intern, there were many things I was afraid of. First was communicating with the clients, which I had never done before. The second thing was teaching, which I thought I would be really bad at. But I liked that I was expected to talk directly to the clients. Now I’m able to just shoot them an email if I have questions, instead of thinking, ‘I’m scared, I don’t know if I can do this.’

I grew up in a refugee camp in Thailand where my family didn’t have enough to eat. I never thought that one day I would end up in Rêve Academy working like this. Thinking back to those times, it challenges me to think further in the future so that my children don’t have to suffer like I did.

The only reason that I was able to stay in school and get all this experience is my parents. I just want my family to be able to live like everybody else—be able to drive cars that they like, be able to eat food that they want to eat, not like before. My plan is to change the way we lived before into a better life.”

See the difference that Rêve Academy makes.

Choua gained both technical and professional skills in her internship—and she didn’t have to pay a cent. In fact, we paid her a fair wage for her work each week, while she learned:

Professional skills

// Empathy
// Authenticity
// Collaboration
// Achievement
// Ingenuity
// Agility

Technical skills

// Weebly
// Drupal
// Google Drive
// Project management
// Agile development

Rêve Academy’s student interns of summer 2016.

Help students along their path.

If you have a heart for students, we have a place for you.

Become a digital volunteer and help our interns as they work on real-world projects. Or show our kids what an ordinary day looks like for a working professional. There are lots of ways to get involved, so don’t be shy—we can’t wait to meet you!