My internship is wrapping up in 4 weeks! I cannot believe it. If I do well I could get a possible job offer out of it. Sales is fun, but it requires a lot of persistence. I feel like I get on peoples nerves sometimes. Its okay though. I meet a lot of cool people everyday. I also get to learn about them. Some people have cool stories about how they got to where they are today. I hope I have success like they do.
Thanks to my CELT Summer Internship award, I was lucky enough to begin an internship this summer with Catholic Charities’ ESL department. I am a rising senior majoring in Spanish & Portuguese, Linguistics, and English who is interested in translation and second language instruction so I was excited to be given the opportunity to work with Catholic Charities. The Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans provides affordable and reliable English instruction and citizenship classes to our immigrant community, to students who come from Honduras, Vietnam, Brazil, Thailand and many other countries (these are just a few of the nationalities in my class!). I first learned about the Catholic Charities English as a Second Language program based out of Newcomb Hall through a service learning component of my Spanish 1020 class.
Beginning as a Teacher’s Aide, I discovered how much fun I had helping students learn English and I began teaching my own class as a sophomore, leading classes until the spring of my junior year. That year, the Latino Farmers Cooperative gave me the chance to learn about the organizational and administrative aspects of ESL programs when they took me on as a Language Exchange coordinator and then as a grant intern. My internship this summer with Catholic Charities represents a combination of my responsibilities as an ESL teacher and as a program coordinator. Over an intensive seven week program, I will lead a Level 2 ESL class as well as aid in program administration and coordinate informational presentations by local community members for the students.
It wasn’t until the first week of class that I formed a clear picture of what this internship would be. When I signed up for the internship, I was very excited to begin leading an ESL class again, especially because I was given the opportunity to teach a level I had never taught before. But I wanted to gain more experience in non-profit management by observing the program’s office manager and aiding her in her responsibilities. Fortunately, my internship supervisor understands what I want out of this internship, and asked me to help her during the program’s registration session during which I administered a survey to incoming students about potential new services Catholic Charities is developing. Experiences such as this help me learn vital professional skills such as communicating bilingually and helping to coordinate a complex event involving over 90 people. These skills could make me an appealing job candidate when I apply to non-profits in New Orleans when I graduate next year. Keeping these goals in mind, I am excited to continue working with Catholic Charities and learn to successfully coordinate my roles as instructor and program administrator over the course of this summer.
Thanks for reading!
This summer I will be working at AmeriCares in Stamford, Connecticut. AmeriCares is a nonprofit that focuses on disaster relief aid and on-going healthcare assistance domestically and worldwide. A large portion of their aid is gift in kind donations from pharmaceutical companies, providing life saving medicine to communities in need.
This is my first internship experience, so I had very few expectations going into my first day. After sitting in mind-numbing traffic for an hour, I showed up with even higher nerves, but I quickly learned there was nothing to be nervous about. The first thing to strike me as soon as I stepped foot into the AmeriCares building is how effortlessly they have constructed a homey and comfortable working environment. The warm colors and high loft ceilings were accented by tapestries or clay pots, even traditional armor in the lobby– artifacts, I would soon learn, that have been collected from sites they’ve worked around the world.
This week has generally been introductions to people around the office, and to the work that AmeriCares has done in the past and plans to do in the future. It’s an interesting time to be at AmeriCares because the organization recently got a new president and CEO, Michael Nyenhuis. The interns got the opportunity to sit down with Michael and he explained his vision for AmeriCares in the coming months. At the end we got to ask him questions; he was genuinely interested and very personable. I think he has some great plans to grow AmeriCares.
As far as my personal work goes, I have just been introduced to AmeriCares CRM system, which was probably my most daunting task of the week. I will be using the system to look up donor information for Institutional Relations and work on improving their donor database. I won’t really get into the nitty-gritty until next week so stay tuned for frustration. I also began working on my long-term project, which will be research for new online fundraising methods. This is personally interesting to me because nonprofits are beginning to see real benefits from online and mobile technology, and I would love to be apart of discovering new methods to improve or expand AmeriCares fundraising.
I am excited for the coming weeks and getting more involved in my work and the organization!