The Importance Of Senior Internship

Submitted By saskiaromero
Words: 1045
Pages: 5

Saskia K. Romero

I interned with TulsaArea United Way for my senior internship. They are a nonprofit organization that invests in helping people each and every day, mobilizes volunteers, helps strengthen partner agencies and provides a strong safety net of critical services to meet identified needs in our community. They have created jobs, rendered services, built assets, paid taxes plus helped and saved lives. They work with 61 partner agencies as of 2011. I picked the particular internship site because Mark Graham is a close family friend and I love volunteer work. I wanted to work with a nonprofit that I know changes peoples lives. I honestly did a wide range of different tasks. I sat in on executive committee meetings. I went on site visits, I was in Community Investment committees. I had a meeting with every executive at United Way. I learned about social media within marketing, Marketing, Finance, the Campaign. I learned about how the structure of the Community Investments campaign cabinet. I met with Diane Powell, liaison for the Woman’s Leadership Council and learned about the events WLC hosts in the fall. I helped plan for the WLC Reception in the fall, which is going to be titled, “The Power of the First Impression – Who Are You?” The whole time at United Way, I worked with many different areas. I loved going to site visits. For example, we went to Youth Services and learned about how they impact children and offer short term and long term stays for children who are homeless or runaways. IT is amazing how one organization can make such a large impact. That is what impresses me about United Way; they are one large organization that is an umbrella agency for 61 smaller agencies that cover the areas of Education, Financial Stability and Health and safety. Probably the most interesting experience I had was attending the division meetings within the Community Investment cabinets. These meetings were to audit the financial aid assistance given to partner agencies the year before and listen to a panel who had attended the agencies this spring. The panel of external volunteers would explain to TulsaArea United Way staff why certain agencies deserved the money they asked for. The agencies, when applying for money year after year, have an online application to fill out. In the application the money you request has to be explained and carefully detailed. You have to say that you want to spend $7500 on tennis equipment and $15000 on ice hockey for example, like the mental health association asked, but the panel did not grant this money, in stead they granted the other $30,406 for the purpose of hiring a new staff member and helping fund a future project. The reports from the panel to the staff are very detailed and explain every reason for denying or approving a request. For united way to give money, there are a few requirements. They require yearly auditing of each agencies financials, turnover on the boards, they try to know that the agencies have a three month reserve available to them if something were to happen. It is quite interesting to see these panels work and plead their cases with the staff members. While I worked at United Way, many small conflicts happened. The receptionist at the front desk counts the checks every morning when the mail comes and she tallies up the amount. The finance woman who picks the checks up every morning and afternoon is very picky, meticulous and annoying. Everyone in the office seems to think she is crazy. Laura Bell, the assistant to the president comes to the front every time she sees this woman walk to the front desk. While I was there for two weeks, there were many emails sent back and forth about how Sharon, the finance woman should conduct herself. She was asked to simply come to the front, take the checks and then double check the receptionists work at her own desk, not in front of other people who