High school students from Southern Dallas recently visited Frito-Lay to learn about potential career paths as part of the Summer Community Initiative.

Southern Dallas students find inspiration from Frito-Lay executives and internships during Summer Community Initiative

by Ginni Beam, Special Contributor | August 28, 2019

Frito-Lay recently invited Dallas ISD students from Southern Dallas to a special event at the company’s headquarters as part of the Summer Community Initiative organized by Safer Dallas Better Dallas.

Safer Dallas, led by Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall, seeks to make Dallas a safer place for its citizens and to strengthen the relationship between Dallas law enforcement officers and the community they serve. The first phase of Safer Dallas’ Summer Community Initiative supported this goal by offering summer jobs to 15-year-olds from Southern Dallas neighborhoods. The program provides leadership and workforce development training, as well as visits to various corporate headquarters throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, including Frito-Lay.

“Frito-Lay had the privilege to host Dallas ISD students at our headquarters and even sponsor some interns from the community,” said Rebecca Acuna, director, government affairs, PepsiCo. “We not only connected them with leaders of our company, but also ensured they could see themselves in our leaders. Employees with similar life experiences showed students the career possibilities at Frito-Lay and gave guidance to help them achieve those career paths.”

Through the Summer Community Initiative, Serenity Garrett, a 17-year-old senior at South Oak Cliff Collegiate Academy in Southern Dallas, interned at Frito-Lay in the economic development department. During her internship, she worked directly with the Frito-Lay economic development team on tasks like processing and editing contracts and observing meetings. Garrett plans to graduate from South Oak Cliff Collegiate Academy with an associate degree in technology and then attend the University of Texas at Arlington.

Through her work with the Frito-Lay economic development team, Garrett says she honed in on majors she wanted to pursue. “I’m headstrong on going to UTA,” Garrett said. “I want to go to University of Texas at Arlington for finance and real estate.”

College has not always been accessible to students like Garrett. More than 90 percent of students in the Southern Dallas community come from economically disadvantaged households and many see college as out of reach.        

Serving students in Southern Dallas is an important part of Frito-Lay’s larger community initiative, Southern Dallas Thrives, which aims to meaningfully improve the lives of our neighbors in Southern Dallas. One specific goal of Southern Dallas Thrives is to help 85 percent of South Oak Cliff High School students graduate college or prepare to be career-ready through tutoring and mentoring efforts at South Oak Cliff Collegiate Academy, the Southern Dallas school Serenity Garrett attends.

“Partnerships between companies like Frito-Lay and our community, in particular our kids, is critical for the future of Dallas,” said Justin Henry, board president, Dallas ISD. “I’m pleased to see that Frito-Lay is investing in our future workforce, cultivating these future leaders and helping provide opportunities to our kids in DISD and our community.”

To learn more about the important work Frito-Lay and its partners are doing in Southern Dallas, visit SouthernDallasThrives.org.

Share This