Youth Highlight: Bella

Bella working her magic at BRING Recycling in her summer 2022 Internship.

Bella’s Journey From New Mexico to the Art Institute of Chicago

We are thrilled to present the inspiring story of Bella, a talented young artist who joined our community after moving from New Mexico to Eugene during her freshman year of high school. Bella’s transition to a new city was initially challenging. Yet she soon found her place at Willamette High School where she immersed herself in a wide variety of creative and nontraditional classes.

It was through a youth culinary showcase called ‘Slice’ that Bella was first introduced to Connected Lane County. She and her team impressed everyone with their skills in the kitchen. So they returned the following year to compete once again. However, Bella’s true passion lies in fashion design and art. It was during the summer after her junior year that she discovered our paid summer internship opportunity.

Bella showing off the cutting board she was working on!

Bella was selected to participate in the 2022 summer internship program in 2022 and was paired with BRING Recycling. Together with another talented youth, Anna, they embarked on a small-batch manufacturing and retail project. Throughout the summer, they designed and manufactured upcycled furniture, decor, and even jewelry. Bella’s creativity flourished as she learned to use a CNC machine, discovered the correct way to handle power tools, and transformed old skateboards into unique earrings.

Beyond technical skills, the internship provided Bella with invaluable experiences in a professional environment. She learned to interact with coworkers, develop “adulting” skills (think taxes and budgeting), and forged lifelong friendships with fellow interns. Bella’s growth was evident, and she became an outstanding example of a young creative combining her passion for art with a skilled trade like manufacturing.

A Future Ablaze with Promise

We are thrilled to share that Bella has been awarded a full-ride scholarship to the prestigious School of Art Institute of Chicago. This fall, she will embark on a new chapter in her artistic journey, and we couldn’t be prouder. Bella’s story serves as a reminder to pursue our passions and embrace the opportunities that come our way.

Please join us in celebrating Bella’s achievements and stay tuned for more inspiring stories from our talented youth. Together, we can empower the next generation of creatives and change-makers!

Bella and her Intern Peer showing off the earrings they made during their internship.