In January 2014, I dared to push send on the application for a DC Internships’ summer program. As a rising senior and political science major I figured that I should start planning for the future and develop some experience in the city in which I wanted to live, Washington, D.C.
I interned with Everybody Wins! DC, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving children’s literacy through mentoring. Initially, I was concerned about the type of work I would be doing as an intern. I wanted to do something that would make a difference and challenge me, but also something that I felt confident in. My worries subsided as soon as I started work with EW! DC. Here, I was not just an “intern,” I was a team member who had a voice, responsibilities, and consequently, I fell in love with their mission.
As a program quality control associate, I was given important work analyzing EW’s mentoring program, and encouraged to make recommendations for ways to improve the program. For example, one afternoon after reviewing surveys I wondered: why don’t we administer an exit survey to students to record how much they increase their reading skills by participating in our mentoring program? I raised my idea with the program director, suggesting that an exit survey could help us better track and report our numbers, which could lead to more grants and more mentors. I left the office that afternoon excited that I had shared my thoughts and in awe of the amazing work that EW!DC accomplishes.
Outside of my internship that summer, I worked alongside the other students in my class to complete academic coursework, service projects, and multiple fundraisers so that we could award a grant of $2,178 to a local, non-profit organization. Before I knew it the summer had come to an end and so had my time in DC… or so I thought.
In December of 2014, I received an email from EW!DC offering me a job! I was flattered, excited and eager to continue my relationship with the amazing team that I had grown extremely fond of. Now I am a school coordinator carrying out daily operations for a mentoring program at an elementary school. My role consists of coordinating mentoring activities between about 100 mentors and 90 students. I schedule daily reading times between mentors and students and coordinate monthly book distributions, while fostering a strong relationship with school administrators and teachers. After my work in the school, I return to the main office to provide program support. My current projects include grant research and writing, assisting with planning a fundraiser auction, creating presentations and writing for our newsletter, just to name a few.
I can’t forget that my work with EW!DC would not have be possible without DC Internships. The Live, Learn, Intern experience opened a world of opportunities here in Washington.
Lucero Pina is a 2014 graduate of the Institute on Philanthropy & Voluntary Service, completing her final semester at Southwestern University through her work with Everybody Wins! DC. For more information on our programs, please visit www.DCinternships.org.