This week was such a short week, but filled with so many new experiences and adventures! Wednesday was a busy day! I started off helping my supervisor get ready for one of the outreach programs, Off to College Night. This annual event is held right around high school graduation season and works to help students and their families prepare for the big change with is quickly approaching. I remember when I transitioned to college it was a big change, but I can’t imagine having to go through it all again while having diabetes. There was a panel of one doctor, two mothers, three college students who have type 1 diabetes and two representatives from another nonprofit, College Diabetes Network. Students and parents had the opportunity to ask various questions- no topics were off limits.
In addition to preparing attendance lists, handouts and other last minute things for the college program, I also learned about the online database that JDRF recently switched to. While my supervisor was in and out of meetings for the day, I was handed a packet of steps and the login information, and off I went! It took me a little while to navigate my way through the database but after clicking around for about a half hour, I finally figured it out. My task was to enter the names of families who had requested (and received) a Bag of Hope. The Bag of Hope program is a backpack program that is sent to families who have children recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. By entering these names into the online database, JDRF will be able to keep track of the other ways that these families get involved with the organization- whether it be through donations, attending events or requesting other materials.
Thursday was a new day with new tasks! I started off by continuing the entering of names into the database, but shortly after arriving was given a new project for the day. I was going to be working on the write-up for the monthly “Cure Champion.” The Cure Champion is someone or a group of people who have made great strides towards finding a cure via helping the organization or diabetic community. The June Cure Champion is the two teenage boys who will be representing the New England JDRF chapter and the biennial JDRF Children’s Congress in Washington D.C. Working on this write-up was a great opportunity for me to research about Children’s Congress and to see how these kids were impacting their community. After finishing this update for the website, I was recruited to help with more Kids Walk envelopes. We had to stuff 1200 envelopes to be delivered to an elementary school and middle school this upcoming week! While stuffing envelopes is not exactly a glamorous job, it is a great opportunity for me to talk to and get to know the other staff members a little better.
Friday I worked off site at the ADESA Boston Car Auction in Framingham, MA. My job was to sell raffle tickets for an iPad Mini with all proceeds benefitting JDRF. There must have been 500 employees from various car dealerships in Massachusetts, and my job was to convince them to buy a ticket- which was harder than it sounds. When I first arrived on site, the supervisor for this project- Glenda- said that I should be really obnoxious about it and stop everyone who was walking by. I tried this for about 20 minutes and decided that this method was just not going to work for me. I decided from that point forward that I was just going to smile, say hello to people as they walk by and politely ask if they would like a chance to win this iPad Mini. While it might not have been the preferred method of my supervisor, this method worked just fine for me! I sold about 400 raffle tickets in 3 hours. I think this is an important lesson for everyone to learn- just because a method works for one person does not mean it is the only way to do something. It’s important to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are and use those to your advantage.
I only have two and a half weeks left at JDRF. This experience has been incredibly eye-opening thus far. It’s hard to believe that the weeks go by as quickly as they do. I’m sure that the coming weeks will be full of new tasks, new experiences, and plenty of learning opportunities!