It’s one thing to have connections, but it’s quite another to use those connections to benefit those less fortunate.
For Polytechnic School senior David Lara, the choice and opportunity was obvious.
Said Lara, of his non profit, Project Talent Launch (PTL), which was launched in 2020 and dedicated to providing high school students internship opportunities, “We started out at the height of the pandemic as a couple of high school sophomores.”
Lara said walking through the doors of the prestigious private school he now attends was an eye-opening experience.
“That really wasn’t the world that we were raised in, or really live around,” he said in an interview this week, “because I went to public school for the majority of my life, but I had the opportunity to attend Poly, and I was very fortunate to do so.”
Lara continued, “You realize the discrepancy in opportunities with people who have connections and really endless pools of money to get opportunities and connections, versus what the majority of students had access to. So we saw that, and we realized we had time on our hands and resources and connections. So we decided to launch this nonprofit organization.”
Lara, who is PTL’s marketing director, and his partners, CEO Steven Lee, and Streak Honey, chief of technology, found nine students willing to help launch the organization, and in their first year, the group raised $10,000 for internships.
It was as organic an effort as one could imagine—just cold calling and knocking on doors.
“It was really just a lot of cold calls and a lot of determination on our part,” recalled Lara. “ We would make several calls a day to local organizations. We used some of our Poly connections, and Poly parents who knew someone we could call, but it was really just a matter of calling people, and asking, ‘Are you interested? Here’s what we have.’ And we took it from there.”
Currently PTL, a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt non profit, has approximately 40 internship posts available in a number of areas—including real estate, medical, financial, technology, video, production, marketing, and advertising—nearly quadrupling their first year’s efforts.
“That’s in a matter of a year with a relatively small team and minimal manpower,” Lara said, unabashedly. “We do believe that we’ll be able to grow significantly, hopefully within the next few years.”
As seniors, Lara et al, hope to pass the group on to future high school students and future generations.
“I think the beauty of it is that we are high school students helping other high school students,” he noted. “We would like to stay on as college students, maybe as advisors, but we want to see it grow, under the direction of other high school students and other people who will be able to create these new opportunities as well.”
The group will celebrate its early successes with a celebratory event on Friday, August 5 at 6:30 p.m. at La Casita Del Arroyo. The evening will feature free food and drinks, a raffle and a silent auction, as well as remarks from those who have contributed to their efforts, or been impacted by their work.
More information about Project Talent Launch is available at https://www.