My internship is half over and I could not have asked for a better experience. This past week was the first week post-gala and I had some really interesting opportunities. On Tuesday, I represented JDRF at a health fair in Worcester, MA. Unfortunately, the weather was awful and no one showed up. However, it was a great opportunity for me to take the time to learn about representing an organization at an event such as this one. It was my responsibility to bring handouts, interest sheets and sample products from the organization. While I was setting up the display table, I tried to take the time to place all of the information in logical order, while keeping the table visually appealing. Even though the turn out wasn’t great, I met a lot of representatives from various nonprofits in Central Massachusetts.
On Wednesday, I went with one of the staff members to an elementary school in Lawrence, MA. The school had decided to partake in one of the programs, Kids Walk to Cure Diabetes. Kelsey, the staff member, did two presentations for the school and introduced the kids to the “Kids Helping Kids” program. Watching this presentation, I thought JDRF had a great way of explaining to kids what diabetes is and how they can help people who suffer from this disease. Since working with kids is one of my greatest passions, it was really inspiring to watch all of those elementary kids leave the cafeteria ready and anxious to raise money for this great cause! Their “Kids Walk” is June 12, so I will be looking forward to hearing how much they have raised!
After leaving the elementary school, we stopped back at the office and then headed out to Quincy to pick up Kids Walk donation folders. The town had 8 elementary schools who participated in the walks. Driving to all of these elementary schools with Kelsey was a great opportunity for me to ask more questions about the organization, how she got started in the nonprofit field and if she had any advice or suggestions for me. By the time we got back to the office that day, it was pretty much time for us to leave for the day!
Thursday was my last day in the office for the week and I spent the majority of the day working on creating a mailing packet that would be mailed to physicians’ offices in Massachusetts introducing a new outreach item, the Adult Type 1 Pak. This product is targeted for adults who have been recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. My supervisor gave me some freedom on what I thought should be included in the mailing. The ideas that I came up with were: a letter to the physicians, a flier showing the Adult Type 1 Pak, an interest sheet that could be photocopied and handed out, a stack of postcards showing patients how to learn more about JDRF and some fact sheets about the New England JDRF chapter. After lunch, I helped Kelsey by inputting all of the data from the Quincy Kids Walk. The cool thing about the Kids Walk program is that the kids earn prizes for different fundraising markers. My job was to go through each of the donation packets and input how much money each child raised and which prizes they would be receiving.
Looking back on my first three weeks at JDRF I have learned a lot of lessons. I think the biggest piece of advice that I would give to other students researching internships is to really take the time to see how organizations utilize their interns. I have had so many wonderful opportunities because of the trust and faith that they place into my hands. By working hard, taking every opportunity handed to me and using every moment as a learning experience, I have been handed many projects that I never imagined I would be doing in an internship setting.
Another lesson learned is to always keep busy. If you don’t have another project right away, look back on projects you have completed and see how you can improve upon them. One of the things that I love about my internship experience thus far is that my supervisor and I work very well together because she has taken notice to my work habits and I have watched hers. She knows how long it will take me to complete a task and isn’t afraid to give me a list of things to do if she knows that she will have a busy day. I tend to finish things pretty quickly and feel bad for constantly asking for more work. It pays off to work efficiently, get things done right the first time and show your supervisor that you can handle the tasks they are giving you. By doing things well the first time, they will be more likely to give you harder projects pushing you to grow professionally. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.”