5 Questions: Peyton Mann, WITS Intern

Somehow, well before September 22nd, Seattle always lets you know that summer has come to an abrupt end (that is, if it ever started to begin with). This has left many SAL staffers with a familiar, lingering guilt: our summer reading lists metamorphose into suspiciously similar-looking fall reading lists, we recount couch-time that should have been sun-time, and some of us even sadly begin our knitting projects.

None of this is true, however, for Peyton Mann, one of SAL’s youngest and most go-getter interns to date. Peyton spent her summer months intrepidly interning with the WITS program, helping to build Camp WITS from the ground up. Now a junior at Eastside Prep, Peyton volunteered her mad organizational skills because, she says, “I wanted to find something worthwhile to do… I love how WITS gives students and kids a voice to write with who might not have the opportunity to write.” Slightly awestruck by her self-starter approach to summer, we asked Peyton a few questions about all the interning, reading, and living goals she’s accomplished…

1. What is your role in the WITS program—and what part of it is most exciting to you?

I work with the WITS staff, Alicia and Nichole, and help them with whatever they need. I mostly work with computers and organize things on Excel, typing up student work and making spreadsheets for the end-of-year anthology. I think the best part is seeing it all come together. At the Camp WITS showcase when the students performed, it was exciting to see what they had written. I remember when it was just a couple months ago when I was seeing their names and their surveys; then, during the performance, it was amazing—they all had completely different pieces and different voices.

2. Tell us a little about yourself. What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not at SAL?

This year, I’m going to be a junior at Eastside Prep. When I’m not at SAL, I can usually be found cooking something, reading a book, or watching TV. I also play soccer and love to get together with my friends and family.

 3. Most memorable moment with WITS?

For me, it was really memorable on my first few days. I wasn’t that familiar with WITS, and I hadn’t been an intern before, but everyone was really nice and welcoming. I felt that Alicia and Nichole put their trust in me to get things done which I really appreciated, even though I was younger than the other interns and the staff.

And this summer, Camp WITS wasn’t just a new thing to me, but it was a first for everyone. Alicia and Nichole really put themselves into this camp, always checking on last minute details and making sure everything was perfect for the kids. No one knows how something is going to turn out the first time, but I think Camp WITS surpassed everyone’s hopes and dreams for it.

4. What are you reading these days?

This summer, I really wanted to read the classics, so I read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, and The Beautiful and Damned. Pride and Prejudice and Catcher in the Rye ended up being my favorites. Another goal of mine was to reread the Harry Potter series. I’m currently on the fifth one, but hopefully I will be able to finish them before school starts!

5. Any takeaways from your summer internship?

Before SAL and Camp WITS, I was never an intern. I volunteered as a camp counselor for Cancer Pathways (previously known as Gilda’s Club), helped out at WE Day, and worked with my school at different service projects. I’ve been to Eastside Baby Corner, Treehouse, Northwest Harvest… Being an intern gives you a new perspective than being a volunteer. When you’re a volunteer, you work directly with who you’re helping, or you’re working knee deep in a new pile of an invasive species. You’re getting down and dirty in whatever the service is, whether it’s catered to people, animals, or the environment.

When you’re an intern, your work is just as valuable, but it’s often completely different. Instead of going to a farm or a soup kitchen, you go to an office and work on computers, but the most important overlap I see is that both jobs help something or someone. At WITS, I type up stories kids have written and organize their work, that way they can be easily published in the end-of-year anthology. This is important because if it doesn’t happen, they might not make it into the anthology, even if the work is really good and worthy of being published.

I also know that SAL isn’t some highly-competitive, cutthroat company. If SAL wants something done, they have to make it happen themselves. When I come into SAL, people are already working hard to complete the day’s tasks. Even with this passionate force to get things done, SAL is rarely dead silent. This is because people chat with each other, mingle by the coffee pot, talk about their weekend plans… And in the office, you’ll always see at least one dog running around. Any place that’s dog-friendly is people-friendly, too.


Thank you, Peyton!

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