By Alejandro Tepayotl
Clearinghouse CDFI definitely provided me with a greater knowledge of what seems like a completely different world. The time I spent interning with them was never wasted. Each second was a learning experience. The staff is incredible and the experiences will always be remembered.
The lessons differed one from the other but were always tied together. Mapping the Experience with Alanna Smith was a very insightful project as we followed the steps a borrower would take in order to apply for a loan from Clearinghouse CDFI. This project was spread throughout our time at Clearinghouse CDFI, allowing us to meet with each person in charge of every step.
Each Clearinghouse CDFI staff member that I met with taught me new things, demonstrating the importance of everyone’s role.
Brian Maddox, the Chief Production Officer, lead us through the Loan Application process, which personally seemed like a really cool job. He interviewed us on a personal level (even though we were assuming the role of borrowers applying for a loan) as well as on a business level. This was interesting to me as he began to build a bridge between himself and the borrower. Every other person we met with was friendly and thorough, but talking with Brian over the phone is an experience that stands out the most. He gets to understand the borrower on a more personal level, and although I was pretending to be someone else, I felt like he would have made a connection with me if I were a real borrower.
We also had other lessons, like Microsoft Excel training with Colin Wagner and LLC status checks with Ricky Ha. I also spent time doing expense reports for Brenda Rodriguez who works at the sister company, Affordable Housing Clearinghouse.
Peter Ahjohn, a Commercial Underwriter here at Clearinghouse CDFI, gave us a chance and taught us how to code. Thanks to Peter, we are now able to code HTML, which has opened the door to the world of coding for us. He taught us that once we understand a certain level of coding we will be able to move on to harder and more complicated ones, hopefully finding a passion for it. Each lesson was incredibly helpful and insightful.
Julie Jongsma, the Senior Accountant at Clearinghouse CDFI and our motherly figure, told us that whatever we had learned during our internship will be used throughout our lives. Every term, every fact, every single piece of knowledge will be used even if we don’t follow an accounting career. We will use what we’ve learned when we buy our own house or a car in terms of asking for a loan. We will use it in school, and also in the future when the new computer skills we’ve attained can speed up our work productivity.
In the future, I can tell potential employers that I know what an expense report is and that I am able to create one.
|During my internship, I was also able to participate in a volunteer day with Clearinghouse CDFI. This experience alone demonstrated to me how much impact Clearinghouse CDFI has on the companies it helps. We visited WISEplace in Santa Ana, CA.|
|We painted cabinets and shelves and organized the donated clothing boutique. The experience was very fun and I got to interact a little more casually with some of the company’s staff. Everyone seemed to have fun and the staff’s bond was apparent. Clearinghouse CDFI definitely changes lives.|
A Bright Future
I am now entering my senior year of high school, and next summer I will be going off to college. I am incredibly happy with my experience at Clearinghouse CDFI and I am sure that I will be using what I learned from them for the rest of my life.
From day one, Clearinghouse CDFI influenced me and prepared me for future experiences. I now have a sense of what a formal job feels like in a professional environment and what to expect from a real interview compared to a mock interview. When high school comes to an end for me, I will continue to grow. I plan on continuing cross country and track and field this year for my school. This is a year to enjoy. I am going to apply to a variety of schools, from UCI, SDSU, to even Colombia. I am still unsure of what career I want to follow but I have ideas now.
My goal is to become someone that impacts the lives of people in a positive way, especially people in low-income communities. Clearinghouse CDFI and I share that goal.
I will miss the daily good mornings from Doug Bystry, Clearinghouse CDFI’s CEO and founder. His cheerfulness and motivational emphasis was apparent whenever I spoke with him. I will miss everyone’s Good morning’s. I could list every single person I’ve met and how much they’ve impacted my life without them knowing it, but that would do them no true justice or recognition.
Thank you Clearinghouse CDFI for granting me such an amazing internship. I look forward to all of your future accomplishments as well.
Clearinghouse CDFI would again like to thank the generous sponsors who made the ‘B’ BOLD Internship Program possible: Banc of California, US Bank, California Republic Bank, First Bank, and Wells Fargo. Read more about the ‘B’ BOLD program, dedicated to Allen Peter Baldwin for his commitment to helping low-income families, here: https://www.clearinghousecdfi.com/b-bold-internship-program.