Twenty-two-year-old Aleese Ingram, a lifelong resident of Snellville, has always had a passion for sports. Her father played baseball at the University of Georgia (UGA) and her uncle was a student-athlete at Georgia Tech. While at Shiloh High School, Aleese was a member of the softball team. Upon graduation, she enrolled at Kennesaw State University with plans to major in business. 

As Aleese pursued her studies, she decided sports management might be a better option, as this major would allow her to merge her interests. Although her parents were a bit skeptical of the long-term career prospects in this field, they supported Aleese in her decision to transfer to UGA, where she matriculated as a sports management major. She graduated in December 2020 and finished up an internship with UGA Football recruiting. 

In May 2021, a friend alerted Aleese to a Facebook post promoting Goodwill’s summer internship opportunity with the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, made possible by the Bank of America grant. Over the last four years, this grant has provided more than 200 youth with job readiness training (JRT) and the ability to explore careers of interest. “Bank of America’s investment in youth and young adults builds workforce skills, networks, and experience that help prepare them for long-term success, and ultimately strengthen our community,” said Al McRae, president, Bank of America Atlanta. For 2021, Bank of America leveraged their partnership with the Atlanta Falcons to create an exceptional experience for interested youth. To add broader exposure, the Falcons collaborated with Atlanta United and expanded the role. 

Aleese connected with Goodwill Special Project Coordinator Deborah Dietzler and following some JRT conversations and interviews, she began the community relations seasonal assistant internship on August 4th. Aleese found the internship to be very impactful, with the focus on community relations work opening new possibilities for her career choice. Her most fond memory is creating an event for childhood cancer patients, “I’ll always remember that. It touched my heart so much.” Aleese shared. 

The internship allowed her to blend administrative tasks with event planning and she was thrilled to be asked for her input at every turn. Among her activities, she hosted honorary captains and other VIP guests, and coordinated weekly practice for the “Unified Team,” a group of children with disabilities who love to play soccer. Months after her internship ended, she still receives messages from these children. 

As the internship drew to a close, Aleese decided to pursue a master’s degree and enrolled at Georgia State, where she secured a sports marketing graduate assistantship with Georgia State Athletics. She’s certain that the internship experience played a key role in being selected for the opportunity. Aleese expects to graduate in 2023 and hopes to work with college or professional sports teams. 

Aleese is grateful for the growth she experienced as she faced the challenges of thinking outside the box, being creative, and bringing something new to the table so that Atlanta United would be doing things that other teams weren’t. She also deeply appreciated the transportation assistance Bank of America provided to assist with the expenses incurred in the commute from Snellville to Kennesaw. 

Aleese was supported throughout the internship by Goodwill’s Pleasant Hill Career Center and received additional job coaching from Career Coach Anthony Sims and Case Manager Sokia Chenevert. Although she was unaware of Goodwill’s Career Services prior to her experience, she has become an ambassador for the agency’s programs.