Just like that, the semester has flown by. Some days it felt like it would never pass, some days it felt too fast. One thing is for sure though, looking over my intern portfolio and work that I’ve completed, I can say I have never had such a productive semester.
From recruiting volunteers to teach honey farmers in Haiti how to build swarm lure boxes, to registering volunteers with the U.S. Embassy, to completing vouchers for funding volunteers, it has been a busy semester. During my time here I have worked on the semi-annual report for FAVACA and completed the volunteer assignments for the next six months in addition to recruiting volunteers.
While I loved working behind the scenes and learning what it takes to make a non-for-profit work, I always enjoy working firsthand with projects. I had the opportunity to do just that a few weeks ago at Caribbean Day at the Capitol. I represented FAVACA on the 22nd floor of the capitol, ate some delicious Caribbean food, and met endless Caribbean individuals. It was great to see the Haitian Senator and all other Caribbean representatives.
Looking over Tallahassee from the 22nd floor, I couldn’t help but feel excitement for what was to come. FAVACA has equipped me with endless skills in non-profit management and given me the experience needed to move forward. Farewell FAVACA, thank you for all you’ve taught me.
Spring semester of 2017 has been the most productive, exciting semester that I have had as a college student and I have truly enjoyed it. Most of these highlights have been made possible through my internship with INIE. Since NESI has ended I have had the opportunity to experience a lot of different things these last couple of weeks. I have gotten the opportunity to be a part of some really interesting meetings and help set up some awesome events.
So Jessica Lowe-Minor, the Executive Director at INIE gets into the office and she tells me she wants me to come with her to a breakfast meeting with County Commissioner Nick Maddox. I am instantly excited to she thought to bring me with her. So the time comes and we head to Savannahs Country Buffett for the meeting. Nick is a former FSU football player that went all the way to the NFL. He isn’t from Tallahassee but once his playing days were over he decided to come back to help improve the city on many levels. So we talk football for the first 15 minutes and then we all get into the reason why we are there which is to discuss funding for nonprofits and how budget cuts would affect them. So he and Jessica discuss different things around the subject for a while and then this great idea comes up, doing an EEP (Entrepreneurial Excellence Program) for nonprofits over a six week span that ends in a shark tank like pitch night where the winner receives a substantial amount of seed capital that the city and county would agree to co-fund. This makes everyone extremely excited because of the opportunity for everyone involved to improve the nonprofit sector by helping them to be more entrepreneurial minded by generating self-sustaining income. This is especially important to a nonprofit because keeping the doors open is the main priority with so much dependence on government funding.
Being able to be a part of meetings like these were a hope of mine but definitely not an expectation of mine going into this internship. I just wanted to gain more knowledge on the nonprofit sector and nonprofit management. Jessica has been so instrumental to me throughout this whole internship. With her open heart and willingness to always help it’s no wonder why she is so successful and I truly appreciate my time at INIE. This internship has exceeded my expectations, hopes and dreams, it’s been everything and more!
SOPs, MemberClicks, Dropbox, QuickBooks, AFP, group benefits, reimbursement, NPEP, and NESI.
All of these terms, if heard by the general public would not be recognizable. However to me, these words represent the growing knowledge and awareness that INIE has allowed me to gain. As I reflect on my time at this internship I realize that I know very little about this sector but am more intrigued every day to learn more. My experience at INIE has been everything I had hoped for. From learning basic administrative office tasks to watching and participating in large scale event planning, my internship experience has given me necessary skills. I now understand how to scan papers onto a PDF and how to type up a reimbursement document. I understand how to facilitate the completion of a grant by compiling data and documents requested. I understand how to conduct an office tour and ask the right questions about people’s nonprofits and goals. This knowledge did not exist just over 4 months ago.
INIE is a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits, but it is also a place where interns are taught and guided to shine in their own passions. The most surprising thing about this internship was the willingness of our amazing leaders to help us reach our goals. Jessica Lowe-Minor and Alexa Cardone have been strategic in helping us pursue our goals and meeting with us about how they can help us. Even if they themselves can’t help us, they point us in the direction of those who can.
Being an intern has many different meanings and changes from place to place. However an intern at INIE means being valued and guided through the experience. Not every day is easy and not every assignment is done with a step by step explanation. However as long as you show up, try your best, ask for help when need be and are a team player then INIE will give you back as much as you had put into it. INIE has given me professional and life skills that I only hope to strengthen. I feel so honored and appreciative to have received this internship and feel, now more than ever before, that I can succeed in this or related fields.
The picture below is from a youtube video where TCC News came to INIE for an after hours event and Desmond and I had the chance to share information about our internship experience.
This experience has been quite a long trek. But the end is very close. Since my last post, I was able to attend the Summit on Women and Girls. This event was held at TCC, for women in the community, as well as girls aged 7th-12th. From the speakers, to the workshops, the entire event was amazing.
Unlike some others in my internship cohort, my journey with Girls on the Run is not over whenever I take my final exam. I still have to do our actual 5k on May 13th. I feel the nervousness come up whenever I work on organizing things for Volunteers, or go to a committee meeting. The day is getting closer, the finish line is in site. I was able to read some letters that our girls wrote to sponsors who support our chapter, and I think they explain the need we are filling.
From this experience, I have taken away experiences I wouldn’t have received anywhere else; for instance, the ability to sit on a committee, and have my opinion heard; also, the innumerable amount of events I was able to attend, and gain new perspectives on the field of social entrepreneurship. Most notably, I was able to learn the ins and outs of volunteer management coordination. This accumulation of new knowledge will stay with me throughout my career. I don’t see it as reaching a finish line; I’ve only started warming up for whatever lies next.
The weeks have flown by and so have the experiences from Spring semester at FSU. While the number of hours I sleep is down and the number of things due are up, I find fulfillment in everything I do. As the semester comes to a close and I reflect on my classes, internship, and more I realize something. This semester I have connected more with students, professors, and professionals in entrepreneurship than ever before.
At FAVACA I have been introduced to organizations I would never imagine have worked with such as Singing For Change Foundation, United States Department of Agriculture, and small grassroots groups in Latin America. Though FAVACA is small team, we connect with hundred of volunteers and organizations throughout the year.
In the internship cohort, I have met multiple students that are likeminded, passionate, and talented individuals. I have been inspired by the minds in the cohort and have had some meaningful conversations about what it means to bring social impact in a sustainable way to the world. I recently attended the NESI 2.0 Conference where INIE interns helped plan and organized the event. It was such an insightful and proactive time where I learned about the importance of community unity. These kind of relations lead me to invest in my work at FAVACA even more and innovate the way that things are done