At the beginning of my senior year of college, we were told that we'd have to secure an internship second semester. If all went well, most of us would just be doing our internship and taking one or two classes so that we could focus on our internship.
I worked in college for the Girl Scouts- it was just an hour each day, but I would go to an elementary school and bring the Girl Scouts curriculum to students in 1st-8th grade. They had the option of going to recess or coming to see me. A lot of them came to see me. I loved it.
I wanted to do something similar for my internship second semester, but I was having a difficult time finding a placement. So one night I just took out a booklet I had with all the nonprofit organizations in Kalamazoo and just went down the list, e-mailing directors and asking if there were any internships available.
I eventually interviewed for an internship at the Kalamazoo Child Abuse and Neglect Council. I had no idea what to expect. The interview went perfectly. I learned that there were just two full time paid staff members, a few volunteers, and a board of directors. My supervisor, Mimi, told me that my job duties would vary from recruiting volunteers to making presentations in the community.
I landed the internship and worked at KCAN twice a week. Mimi was right. I did a little bit of everything. She really did me a favor by letting me take the reins and jump into any project that I wanted to do. I sat at our table at health fairs and passed out information on child abuse prevention, I took part in our largest fundraiser, I recruited volunteers for said fundraiser, developed a new campaign, and even traveled to the state capital to speak up about child abuse prevention. It was an eye opening experience. I once again found myself in a situation where I was significantly younger than my coworkers, but was able to step up and accomplish things, much to my surprise.
I know I was very lucky to land such an awesome internship. I'm still grateful for KCAN and for Mimi for all the advice they gave me. I stayed in touch with Mimi up until last year. I learned that she has since stepped down as executive director, and I don't have any personal email for her. But she was a mentor for me, and really helped me to learn what it meant to be passionate about something.
Now I work for a company that takes interns, and one of my roles is to oversee them. I often think about my own experience with my internship and work hard to make sure that the students I work with have just as much of a positive experience that I did. I try to protect them but challenge them. Just like Mimi did for me.