October Business Spotlight – Ben and Jerry’s


Owner of Ben and Jerry’s, Sibel Berberolglu, has been a part of TRUE Mentors since it’s inception. “Being a part of the Teen Internship Program and taking on an intern was something we were on board with since the creation of the program Sibel believes businesses have the “tools to mold young workers into becoming successful individuals for their future and future careers. Any business can help a teenager increase their potential in the outside world where they will meet financial responsibilities, the need to show off their social skills where they may network their way to gain new experiences outside of their comfort zone. Plus, the interns that we have been getting have been amazing, one of the natural strengths that has been a common trait is their eagerness to learn and their ability to adapt to different situations.”
ben and jerrysThe Ben and Jerry’s internship project this year was focused on promotion and advertising. The goal of the internship was to create different ways to gain the attention of the public, to bring awareness on what is the difference between Ben & Jerry’s and other places, and to inspire them to stop by for a sweet treat after a long day at school or work. “It’s brought more people into the shop, increasing our afternoon line, and it’s helped Kayla gain the knowledge of what we do is not just mere scooping at a regular ice-cream shop.”
Throughout the duration of the internship, a mentor is assigned to work with the intern to ensure he/she is meeting project deadlines and balancing school and work appropriately. Kristin Jennings, Kayla’s mentor for the Ben and Jerry’s internship, first heard about the program from a friend that was involved in the TM Enrichment Club program on Tuesday evenings. Kristin was interested in working with high school students and signed up after hearing the TM Program Director, Rebecca Denaro, speak about the Teen Internship Program and Hoboken Grace. Kristin’s favorite part of her mentorship was fostering her relationship with her mentee. “I loved getting to know the students beyond the internship and classroom. I liked hearing about their friends, family and plans for the future.”
Providing students with work experience is both rewarding and challenging for everyone invoSibel Photolved. It is through these challenges that relationships are formed and where we see tremendous growth in our students. Sibel noted that “every intern has a different schedule and a different need.” Prior to beginning the internship, the mentor, mentee and business owner sit down to discuss the project, set deadlines and get to know each other prior to starting work. One of the biggest challenges several of our interns have encountered over the years are specifically related to public speaking and being outside of their comfort zone. Sibel feels these main concerns are always fixable, because the “interns are never left alone, and are given examples on how to professionally introduce themselves while speaking towards our customers. It’s always the first day that’s the hardest but with time and consistency they are able to build self confidence, talking more, connecting with people.”
It is mentors like Kristin that support these interns and help them overcome these challenges throughout the program. “Kayla and I created a schedule of tasks for each week. Even though we didn’t complete each task each week, it still gave us a sense of direction and let us know if we were behind on anything.” Through this experience Kayla learned to set small goals and work to achieve them one at a time. For the mentors, Kristin believes her biggest challenge was staying on top of the project. The weeks seemed to go by so fast!”
Sibel feels confident recommending any business to be part of the TRUE Mentors program. “It is a fantastic opportunity to “prepare the young adults of our future and give them the experience they need when they start college. We’ve hired Nadia Castro as soon as she completed the True Mentors internship program. She has exceeded with customer service and has gained responsibilities out of her comfort zone which she can now lead others by example. Kristin also enjoyed her experience and learned a lot about herself as well as how to help her intern be successful. “My experience was wonderful. I always looked forward to connecting with Kayla to see how the project was coming and to hear about what was going on in her life.”
The teen internship focuses on building relationships between local teens and area businesses. It is relationships and opportunities like this that help our students become successful in the future careers. Sibel is proud to sponsor a teen intern each year. “We believe local businesses should foster an environment and offer work experience to help students grow and reach their full potential. We are a values led company that happens to make the best ice cream out there. Our job consist of making a difference in the community and environment, putting smiles on everyone one scoop at a time.”
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