An Intern’s Life
It’s hard to believe the summer is over so quickly. Here I am at the end of my internship, feeling as though I have just gotten started with my journey at United Way–Thomas Jefferson Area. As the saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” This is exactly the case with my internship. Having the opportunity to work alongside some of the most dedicated, hardworking, and caring individuals I’ve met has made each day at the office such an enjoyable experience. Each member of the staff welcomed me graciously into the organization and offered me guidance and encouragement throughout my time.
For many years I have considered pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector, but I have continued to have my qualms. This internship, however, has affirmed my aspirations toward a nonprofit career and has put my mind at ease. From the start, I was given the opportunity to integrate myself into the United Way’s work and to see how I could fit into the day-to-day operations of a nonprofit organization. The result has been a newfound confidence in the direction I want to head post-graduation. A large part of this confidence has come from the diversity and the satisfaction from the work. Before beginning my internship, I remember talking with Caroline, who told me that one of her favorite aspects of working at a nonprofit is that each day presents her with something new. Her wisdom on the subject proved true as I was assigned numerous tasks and projects on every part of the spectrum.
Often I was asked to research information regarding various subjects – some about programs across the nation that could be replicated here in Charlottesville, others about new technologies that would help our causes, and some concerning ways to improve the efficiency of existing programs at United Way. This provided me with a chance to learn about new subjects, improve my writing, and think critically about how to go from research to reality. Another part of my work was compiling information that was needed for this year’s annual report. Whether it was gathering photos, taking quotes from members of the Board of Directors, or writing brief profiles on featured community members, knowing that I was contributing to a major piece of United Way marketing was an awesome opportunity. Helping to manage the agencies and teams who were registering for the 2015 United Way Day of Caring was extremely rewarding. And, I got to be a guest on the Joe Thomas radio show twice!
Despite the wide range of assignments, I realize that I never truly considered them "work". Each has been a chance to hone my skills or an opportunity to grow and learn while making a difference in the community. The diversity of the job and the daily sense of satisfaction are perhaps the most attractive aspects of nonprofit work - every day is like a fresh start.
There is so much to say about the amazing work United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area does for the local community. I don't think that I could say enough positive things to convey how truly remarkable an impact the United Way has on individual lives here in the area. All I can really say is thank you all for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful organization that works so hard to make this community a better place - I am greatly appreciative.
-Posted by Devon Stribling, United Way intern
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