Internships for People of Color
Are you a person of color who is interested in learning about dog training or possibly entering the dog training field? Or are you already working in pet care and would like to expand your understanding of dog behavior and training to deepen your relationship with the dogs you work with and provide added value to your clients?
Dog training involves both physical skills and mental skills. Learning dog behavior and training requires hundreds of hours of hands-on work with numerous dogs. It can be hard to come by this experience on your own. Mentoring (often called apprenticing or interning) is a time-honored tradition among dog trainers. Often the best education for a new trainer in how to train dogs comes from working with a seasoned dog trainer.
Racism is a force in every corner of our culture. Systemic and systematic racism have prevented — and continue to prevent — Black Americans and other people of color from equal access to economic security, safety, physical and mental wellness, and a true sense of belonging and being valued in their country and community, among many other things. Laws enforced second-class citizenship and lack of opportunity for Black people for hundreds of years. Even when those laws have been abolished, intentional and systematic efforts to disempower Black people continue. In addition, every person in this culture (no matter our color or politics), absorbs racist ideas and may perpetuate racism without intention. This also reduces work, educational, and career opportunities for qualified and gifted Black individuals.
Immigrants also face a combination of forces that make it challenging to enter careers and get an equal education — racism and barriers of language. Currently, there is a virulent stream of anti-immigrant rhetoric in this country that is truly shameful and an undermining of the ideals that our Statue of Liberty is supposed to represent.
In recognition that racial inequality harms career and educational opportunities for people of color, we are offering two scholarships per year for people of color to intern with At Your Service at no charge for six months. (Normally the current rate for an internship is $150 per month.) One of the scholarships is reserved for someone who is Black or African-American. The other is available to a person who is Black/African-American, Native American, or Latinx, or a person of color for whom English was not their first language.
If you are interested, please read about our internship program and our internship course details. The internship may be conducted on-site (for people in Western Massachusetts) or online (for people outside the region), or a combination.
About Marlena Willis
A personal note from Sharon: Numerous mentors have profoundly affected my life in positive ways. I have had mentors in dog training, writing, theater, and more. One of the most influential mentors in my life has been the person who taught me Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Marlena Willis. Studying and practicing NVC for several years has improved my life in more ways than any other pursuit. My teacher, Marlena, was generous and offered her teachings by dana (generosity) — based on what her students wanted to offer her. Marlena is also a person of color who cares deeply about empowerment, kindness, and justice for all beings, including dogs (and cats). When I thought of whom I wanted to name these scholarships after, she automatically came to mind! Learn about NVC and listen to Marlena on the radio.