I developed my passion for helping people at a young age. I was in the Girls Scouts, which exposed me to a variety of service projects, volunteered at the local food bank and participated in multiple clubs at school that gave back to the community.
I was first exposed to the inner workings of the nonprofit world in high school. After a car accident took the lives of three classmates, I, along with two friends, was determined to do something positive in light of something so tragic. We decided to start a scholarship fund in memory of one of our friends who had passed. This opportunity provided me with a wealth of knowledge from how to hire an attorney and file papers to legally become a nonprofit, to hosting fundraising events and being responsible with money that people had donated to our cause. I still consider this experience one of the best of my life.
Fast forward a few years to my sophomore year of college and I’m an Accounting major, doing well in school but completely unexcited by classes and career path. I constantly found myself seeking the passion and joy I had discovered while starting the scholarship in high school.
In December 2015, I attended Stop Hunger Now’s 10th-anniversary meal packaging event and joined hundreds of other volunteers in assembling meals. The staff members were incredible and their excitement was contagious. That day a light bulb switched in my mind: Why don’t I work in nonprofits? By January, I had come into the office for an interview and was hired as an intern, getting the opportunity to work alongside the same people who had inspired me.
From the first day I stepped into the Stop Hunger Now office, I felt welcome like a part of the family. The employees in the office were just as enthusiastic as those in the warehouse. Immediately, my fear of having an internship where I made coffee and did mind numbing busywork was put to rest as I attended meetings, took ownership of projects and created materials to add to my portfolio.
I used to have a boss who would ask me something new I learned at the end of every shift. There were many days where I found it nearly impossible to answer. At Stop Hunger Now, I have never struggled to reflect on what I’ve learned. I have learned that in the nonprofit world, small teams of people collaborate to make a big impact. I am surrounded by people who are extremely invested in their work, because people’s lives literally depend on it. I have learned the difficulties of working with a limited budget and the resourcefulness it takes to do it well. I have learned that it’s okay to be emotionally invested in your work and the list goes on and on.
This internship will soon end, but I will take these lessons with me wherever I go. I will always be grateful for the time I have spent at Stop Hunger Now, the people I have met, and the things I have learned about the world and myself. While I may not always be a Stop Hunger Now employee, I will be an advocate in the fight against hunger, and for this organization, for the rest of my life.