As approximately 80 Plano ISD students took a day off from their paid summer internships to perform community service at the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) Friday morning, memories of last year’s Zoom meetings remained vivid.
“Today is even more special because we had to do this event virtually last year with a need that was higher than ever,” said Erica Yaeger, NTFB’s chief external affairs officer, to a crowd of over 100 students and public officials who gathered in the food bank’s lobby in celebration of Community Service Day. “And it’s the first time we get to do this under the leadership of [Plano] Mayor [John] Muns.”
Muns is the second mayor to oversee the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program (PMSIP), a program that was launched by Muns’ mayoral predecessor, Harry LaRosiliere. Under PMSIP, Plano ISD students are connected with businesses and nonprofits for paid internships that will continue to run until July 30. Since its inception, the summer program has had over 600 students intern for public sector entities such as Plano ISD, as well as private corporations such as JPMorgan Chase, NTT Data Services, Boeing, Frito-Lay, Capital One and Oncor Energy.
While PMSIP has been in operation since 2014, Friday marked the third Community Service Day to ever happen in tandem with the program. LaRosiliere established Community Service Day in 2019 with an expressed purpose of instilling into PMSIP’s interns the value of altruism and charitable work.
For Friday’s iteration of Community Service Day, student interns packaged 17,326 pounds of food, a feat that Muns publicly commended.
“What an impressive class of interns we have for this year,” he said. “You should all be very proud, and we are very proud of you.”
Following Muns’ remarks, NTT Data CEO Bob Pryor (whose company sponsored Community Service Day) presented NTFB a check for $25,000.
Muns said he anticipated and prepared for the responsibility of overseeing both initiatives long before he was elected on May 1, adding that he asked LaRosiliere about it “many times.”
“This is such a corporate community that Plano lives in, and we want to make sure that we have the good relationships with our corporate community,” Muns said. “They are so supportive of this internship program, and yet at the same time, we’re selfishly making these wonderful, talented kids get to know these corporate partners, hoping that they’ll come back after college, live here and make a career right here in Plano.”
Kirti Moteka, an incoming senior at Plano East Senior High School who is interning for Muns, concurred, adding that her experience as a government affairs intern is congruent with her aspirations to work in either marketing or journalism.
“I thought it was a really nice opportunity to learn about journalism, marketing and all those kind of things that would be harder to find outside an internship program like this,” she said.