2023 GRAD Summer Internship Program

On July 29th, Open Hand of Fredericksburg celebrated 21 interns, ranging from 14 to 22, for their successful completion of the Gaining Respect and Determination for My Life’s Purpose (GRAD) Summer Internship Program. Our interns attend various high schools within Planning District 16 with the majority coming from Massaponax High School (Spotsylvania Co), Colonial Forge High School (Stafford Co) and James Monroe (Fredericksburg City). We also hosted interns from Caroline High, Gladys Oberle Academy, Homeschooled, other Spotsy and Stafford High Schools and several college students from Germanna Community and Richard Bland College.

Interns attended five days of training workshops where they learned important life and job readiness skills from various speakers in our community. After completion of the workshops, interns were paired with one of our 12 mentors and placed at a local business partner to begin their six-week paid internship. Additionally, each intern was required to give back to the community and volunteer at least 6 hours with a non-profit of their choice. We are so thankful to Stafford Junction, the Stafford County Public School Graphic Imaging Program, Loisann’s Hope House, Central Virginia Family Medicine, Ron Rosner YMCA, City of Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation, New Hope Christian Ministries, Youth of Promise, Sweet Frog, the Lloyd Moss Free Clinic, Greater Fredericksburg Habitat for Humanity, the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank, Gali’s Café, Fredericksburg Office of Voter Registration and Elections, and Fredericksburg Circuit Court for hosting the 2023 GRAD Interns.

Upward and Onward!

Each of our interns received glowing reviews from our community partners they worked for. Several of our interns were hired to continue their employment!

As our interns prepare to return to high-school, join the workforce or attend college in the fall we wish them continue success and look forward to having them – and their friends – back in 2024!

We are very proud of each of these young people and grateful for the opportunity to share our core values of Faith, Community, Dignity and Career.

“Open Hand gives an opportunity for youth to excel, and make some mistakes, in a job situation with the support of mentors and without the normal pressures of a regular job. I am very much in support of the mission and vision of Open Hand and I look forward to a continued partnership with them through their GRAD program.”

 – Sarah Perry

Downtown Greens


Open Hand of Fredericksburg would like to give a big THANK YOU to The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region for allowing the GRAD program to have more opportunities and resources for this upcoming year!
We are pleased to announce that Open Hand was recently awarded a $10,000 grant for our GRAD Program!
This project is made possible by a grant from the Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) of The Community Foundation.



More about Youth in Philanthropy

Youth in Philanthropy, also known as YIP, teaches youth the importance of giving and serving; encourages youth involvement in philanthropy; and provides ways for local young people to take action on issues that are important to them.  The program consists of 40 tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders from the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George, and Caroline and the City of Fredericksburg. Each grant cycle challenges these young people to practice leadership, solve problems, study proposals, managing budgets, working together and presenting views to an audience of peers and adults.

Click here to learn more about the YIP program.

Click here to learn about becoming a YIP youth member.

Click here for a retrospective of YIP grants awarded.


Open House!

This Saturday, April 2, 2022 we had an Open Hand Open House to introduce ourselves to the community and give interested interns, volunteers, and business partners an opportunity to meet our staff.

We are also celebrating 20 years of serving youth and their families with job placement, professional development, and educational services. It was such a blessing to reflect on where we came from and where we are going.  
We are excited to see what the next chapter of our organization will look like and to welcome the community to be a part of the process.

The Open House was all about our interns, who are our mission.  It was a blessing to see the diverse group of interns we have impacted over the years. Over the years, we have seen youth grow and become accomplished and confident adults.  

We are enthusiastic to add more interns to the Open Hand family this summer!  
The Open House highlighted current community partners who have contributed to our success in various ways. Host employers have graciously opened their businesses and nonprofits to our interns to give them an opportunity to gain hands-on training.  

Some host employers we have had over the years include Fredericksburg Voter RegistrationStafford JunctionDowntown Greens Inc.,Lloyd F. Moss Free ClinicSPCA of FredericksburgFredericksburg Regional Food BankSonic of Fredericksburg,Boys & Girls Club of the Rappahannock RegionSalem Fields Community Church.  

Some new host employers joining us this year include Fredericksburg Area MuseumJoshua Hand, and more.  

Our Community Partners also diligently contribute to our interns through donations and grants. Some grantors we were able to thank were Duff McDuff Green, Jr Foundation; Mary Washington Healthcare; andChick-fil-A Lee’s Hill.
Our Community Partners also serve our youth by offering their wisdom about the business world during our Professional Development Workshop. 
Some business partners joining us this year are Bookmobile Fredericksburg, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Joshua Hand.

It was such an encouragement to see familiar and new community partners this Saturday. It is not too late to participate this summer as a community partner! We are still welcoming new partnerships!

The Open House was heavily attended by Open Hand staff and volunteers. They are the backbone of our organization. They work one to one with interns, strategizing behind the scenes, and in the office managing administrative tasks. Each individual that dedicates their time to our organization is valuable! During the presentation, we highlighted different ways community members can get involved and serve our local students. Volunteer opportunities include: mentors, event volunteers, administrative support, and fundraising.

Special thanks to: Sarah Whitt, our new GRAD administrative support; Juan Castro, a former intern who now volunteers his time regularly for GRAD; Dan Donehey and John Taussig, our IT guys; Pastor Bob Becker, our founder and President of the Board; Debra Smith, our PEARLS Lead Instructor; Veronica Eberlein, our new Board Member; Wayne Driver, our Vice President of the Board; Tamara Driver, our Grant Writer and Board Member; Scott Erdelatz, Board Member; and Ricky Jones, Board Member.

We are always looking for volunteers and would love you to join us!