This fall, while I had already completed my human rights internship requirement over the summer, I knew during my final semester at UCONN that I wanted more experience of what working at a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization would be like. My summer internship had been at a start-up non-profit and while this experience had been a great introduction into nonprofit work, I knew I wanted an experience with a well-established NGO. I also knew that ideally it would be a NGO focused on children as children’s rights have been my budding interest at UCONN. I was lucky enough to get that opportunity at Save the Children in Westport, Connecticut. Save the Children was founded in London almost one hundred years ago at the end of WWI. In the 1930’s, the United States chapter of Save the Children started up in Kentucky, passing out clothes and hot meals to school children. Now, Save the Children is working all over the world, running programs focused on health and education to emergency response.
My internship position was in the humanitarian response unit of the resource development department. Going into the internship I was so excited about working in the emergency humanitarian response that I paid little attention to the resource development part. Now for those of you who are as unaware as I was, resource development is a fancy term for “fundraising”. As I stated previously, I was just eager to learn how a successful NGO functions, which is good because fundraising, while I obviously knew it was necessary, was not an area I ever pictured myself working in. And at the end of my internship, this remains true. However, my appreciation for the amount of work required, and the creativity and time spent to create fundraising campaigns has greatly grown. I was lucky enough to have bosses who are amazingly skilled at what they do, as well as generous with their interns, allowing us to sit in on meeting after meeting even when it did not relate to our current project. This was especially true after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines when I was able to see and listen first-hand what is required in the initial days of an emergency response. It was an incredible opportunity. I was also fortunate that my particular position was split between resource development and helping one of my bosses who works as a sort of liaison to the board of trustees. While it was more administrative work that I was doing – creating, maintaining, and constantly updating excel sheets – it was amazing to see the generosity of the time and resources that these board members gave to Save the Children.
I got exactly what I wanted from this internship – more experience, and a greater knowledge and understanding of the parts in an organization required to effect change in this world. I learned a little bit more about myself, and how I work and can see myself working within a like organization. Save the Children has a great internship program, and has year round spaces for interns. I would highly recommend them, as I would recommend getting as many varied internships positions as you can.
Kate Harris if finally graduating with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Human Rights. She is looking forward to having free-time so she can write in her next bio about what she actually enjoys to do with it.