WORCESTER, Mass. -- Two local students have been chosen for a leadership program which has been keeping them busy at the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester.

Shalini Biju and Diana Nguyen were chosen as part of the Bank of America Student Leaders program.

The eight-week summer internship provides students with first-hand experience serving their communities. Biju and Nguyen have already managed to gain plenty of expertise in that area.

Nguyen recently graduated from Worcester Technical High School, where she spent her spare time brightening up the lives of nursing home residents with arts and crafts. It's all part of a program she helped create called Caring with Compassion.

"It made me really upset and kind of broke my heart to see that some residents had a lot of colorful artwork, and then other residents just had blank bulletin boards and they were in a really lonely environment," Nguyen said. "I couldn't stop thinking about it and I went back and started asking if I could decorate them. All of my club members, we started doing the same thing and I donated a lot of artwork there."

Biju is a rising senior at Shrewsbury High School, and in addition to being a peer tutor and volunteer mentor, she finds time to volunteer as an art teacher for the Autism Allies organization. 

"What started as a research project to help me better understand turned into something that was actually really valuable to me, because I formulated really good friendships with all of the kids and I learned a lot from them," Biju said. "They're always really excited to do the art projects, and I can see it really helping them as well."

2022 marks the first time in several years Bank of America and the Worcester Boys and Girls Club have been able to have interns help out in person, and Director of Development Leah Motsis said it's been a big help. 

"In the nonprofit world, we can always use an extra set of hands," Motsis said. "I think another piece of this and something we strive for at the club as an overall theme is mentorship. Each year, the youth that we get to partner with have been great so we really enjoy it."

As Biju and Nguyen continue their internship, it's no surprise they approach the work with a willingness to help others. 

"I was really excited that I could work with a nonprofit, because that's something I'm interested in pursuing in my future," Biju said. 

"It makes me really happy to see the impact we have when they come in every day and they're really excited," Nguyen said. 

Three hundred students across the country were chosen for the Bank of America Student Leadership program. Biju and Nguyen will also take part in a virtual leadership summit with members of Congress and leading voices for civil and human rights. 

“Bank of America remains committed to supporting young adults by connecting them to jobs, community engagement opportunities and leadership development,” said Ed Shea, President of Bank of America Central Massachusetts. “We recognize young adults are the future, which is why programs like Student Leaders are one way we can provide paid opportunities for students to gain job experience while developing a diverse pipeline of talent as they enter the local workforce.”