Open Hand of Fredericksburg PEARLS Program

Open Hand of Fredericksburg is a faith based 501(c)3 in the Greater Fredericksburg area that serves at-risk and under-resourced youth through vocational training, job placement, educational services, and mentoring.

We are looking for energetic and goal-oriented interns to join our team as a TEACHERS ASSISTANT for our PEARLS program. PEARLS is a partnership with Planning District 16 local high schools’ alternative education programs. The PEARLS program teaches life skills building, work readiness, and career/college exploration. Together they serve students who have been suspended or removed from regular high school classes. We specifically focus on youth obtaining their GED, many of which have a record.

Though Open Hand is a faith-based organization, we do not discriminate based on religious affiliation and proselytization is prohibited while working in the building with the students.

Throughout the internship, interns will be expected to attend class at the Walker Grant Alternative Education Building Tuesday and Thursday 8:15AM – 10:30AM. Additionally, interns will meet in person with their direct supervisor two to three times a week for an hour. Also, interns will join Program Manager once a month to attend Board Meetings, which occur every first Monday of the Month from 6PM – 7PM.


Depending on the student’s background and the needs of the Instructor, the student may be involved in any of the following activities:

  • Assisting with classroom instruction
  • Working one on one with students to complete class work and projects
  • Occasionally, instructing class
  • Working with Instructor on project and field trip planning
  • Classroom management
  • Keep a daily journal of in class interaction with the students

Interns will also complete a research project, they will present to the board. Projects will include statistics, state and local findings, application to program, and personal thoughts based on experience with students.

Types of topics projects might be on include (but are not limited to):

  • Reason for an increased high school dropout rate in Planning District 16 in the last 3 years
  • Reason for low attendance and retention in the GED Program in Fredericksburg City in the last 3 years
  • What should a virtual GED Program look like and how would it continue to engage students
  • How do you motivate disengaged students and make a curriculum applicable to their difficult home environments
  • Other topics that focus on alternative education, school to prison pipeline, and/or high school drop outs

Agency Requirements:

  • Background check paid for by the organization
  • All school health guidelines must be followed
  • Timesheet turned in every other week (including research hours)

Application Process:

All interns must send resume and cover letter to the Program Manager via email ( After the resume and cover letter are received, interns will interview either in person or virtually. After the background check is cleared, intern will receive a response about the position.


1. Must meet all UMW and Department of Psychological Science internship requirements.

2. Required courses:

  • PSYC 201 – Social Psychology
  • PSYC 232 – Adolescent/Adult Psychology
  • PSYC 362 – Research Methods

3. Recommended courses:

  • PSYC 320 – Psychology of Exceptional Children and Youth


  • 42 hours of work per credit hour (most interns do 3 credits with 126 hours of work)
  • Grade is based on on-campus supervision, agency evaluation, reflective journal, and a final paper

Supervisor contact:

Elisha Sese-Khalid, Program Manager


Website: Website