April 10, 2020 | By neighborhoodev

Words From an Intern

Hello again! If you’re reading this in the morning, I hope you grabbed a cup of coffee. It’s a NH tradition that I haven’t picked up on yet lol. I’m pretty sure Mr. Josh and TJ are in a meeting right now with their cup of coffee to start their day. Today, I am going to focus on my internship experience with NH. If you are looking to gain experience in the non-profit sector, have a passion for helping others, and enjoy a family-oriented culture, this IS the place for YOU! The staff here treat me as if I’m actually a part of the team. Yes, I get it….I’m just an intern, but they don’t make me feel like “just an intern” (See what I did there?)

Mr. Josh, Mrs. Cathy, Mrs. Jenny, and TJ are all just wonderful people to learn from and are full of knowledge. They’re always pushing me out of my comfort zone by assigning different tasks, suggesting books, or sharing ideas with me. It was cool being their first intern ever because we were able to learn together how the internship process works. I worked with the Neighborhood Initiative, Health Initiative, and the Options Program. They tried to make sure my tasks were for the benefit of the organization and within my major (Public Health). One of my requirements for the class was to complete 290hours (Whew!)  The staff were helpful and creative in assigning intern tasks. In fact, I attended my very first Board Meeting. It was an awesome experience just having a seat at the table and networking with individuals committed to helping others. It has always been my dream to one day start my own non-profit organization in my hometown for children (Florence,SC). By interning with Neighborhood Hope, I witnessed all the hard work, consistency, time , and dedication that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the organization is run properly. Every decision the staff makes, they have to consider the overall impact that decision has on the kids and the programs. It requires a lot, but it is most definitely worth every single moment that we get to spend with the kids. For Black History Month, I created a lesson on Madam C. Walker and financial literacy. It made me so proud to hear about the kids’ interest in starting their own businesses.

As I am getting closer to the end of my internship, I’m pretty sure saying goodbye to the kids is  going to be one of the hardest parts about walking away. I looked forward to hearing about their weekend or their day at school in our small groups on Mondays and  healthy snacks/ dance battles on Wednesdays. I don’t think you guys understand how excited I was my second Monday Night with the kids. They went from “What’s her name?” to “Hey Mrs. Synclaira (Emphasis on SYN-CLAIR-AH) to now I am sometimes greeted with a hug or a smile. Building relationships with them was worth it. As adults (whether young or older), we have a responsibility to “show up” and be present in children’s lives. They are kids and kids will make mistakes. By being present in their lives, you have an opportunity to make a difference. Never underestimate the power of making a difference in someone’s life.

Without a doubt, God placed me with Neighborhood Hope for a reason. I can truly say that I learned a lot, grew closer in my relationship with God, and gained a family away from home. I also learned my areas of weakness and strengths. From the staff, to kids, and volunteers, this organization is full of love. For those of you interested in the non-profit sector, I highly recommend interning with Neighborhood Hope. I promise you it’s not your typical 8-5, but it’s the moments with kids, or conversations with volunteers/staff that will make everything worthwhile.