Banker by day, artist and musician by night, Bre'yanna got her start with the Meridian Interns Program (MIP).

"Growing up in what is considered to be one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in San Francisco wasn't easy," writes former Meridian Intern Bre'yanna, "but the Meridian Interns Program helped me focus, and stay on the right path. It kept me out of trouble."

When Bre'yanna turned 14, she needed to find an after-school job. Through the Mayor's Youth and Employment Education Program (MYEEP), she discovered the Meridian Interns Program (MIP) and was thrilled to learn that she could get paid to receive an arts education! Inspired by her life-long love of music, Bre'yanna couldn't wait to learn more about the visual arts. A few weeks later, she began her internship at Meridian Gallery.

Working with MIP's staff of professional Artist Instructors, Bre'yanna experimented with a range of artistic media and discovered a love of drawing, painting, and collage. Here are a few of her creations:

MIP's many field trips offered Bre'yanna a broad cultural education. Not only did she visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Artde Young, and other local art institutions, she also visited the zoo to observe and sketch exotic animals, the Presidio to draw in nature, and the Headlands Center for the Arts to bake bread in a traditional brick oven. 

In her editorial for the 2008 Megazine (MIP's annual, self-published magazine), Bre'yanna wrote that these field trips broadened her definition of art and strengthened her friendships with fellow Meridian Interns.

"Meridian had become not only a safe haven but my second family."

Today, Bre'yanna credits MIP as central to her professional development. Working with others on projects like the Megazine and the annual MIP Spring Exhibition gave her the opportunity to develop leadership, public speaking, and time-management skills.

"The experience I gained at Meridian is irreplaceable, and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world."

Following her graduation from the Meridian Interns Program, Bre'yanna studied criminal justice at Heald College, making her the first member of her family to attend and graduate from a post-secondary institution. Now working at Union Bank, she plans to pursue a career in finance. Bre'yanna remains deeply involved with the arts, as she has continued working with Meridian Gallery as our weekend attendant and bookkeeper, and plays both the violin and the cello. 

"We cannot give up on the Meridian Interns Program. Everyone deserves a chance to succeed."

You can change the lives of low-income youth like Bre'yanna by supporting the Meridian Interns Program. Please give today.