Seeking 2014 Summer Fellows

Eligible – Are you a college Junior, Senior, Graduate Student, or recent graduate that attended a Franklin County college or university, or graduated from a Franklin county high school?

Apply- Online by 2/7/14

Interview- Candidates will be selected by the host organizations for interviews in April.

Serve- The 10-week fellowship starts June 2 and ends Aug 8 2014.

In their own words!
A video highlighting the Summer Fellowship Program.

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Seeking 2014 Host Organizations

For the last four years, we’ve partnered with nonprofits that have served as host organizations for a Summer Fellow. Organizations design a full-time, meaningful work experience for the Summer Fellow—and receive a stipend for their operation and oversight of the 10-week program. 

Do you have a meaningful, challenging, and mission-related project that would be great for a Summer Fellow?

Please read about the expectations and requirements, and consider submitting an application by November 8, 2013.

In their own words!
A video highlighting the Summer Fellowship Program.

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Last task: Say goodbye to everyone

Today was my last day at Alvis House, and it feels so strange to be leaving. I spent forty hours a week for ten weeks in this office and got to know a lot of interesting, funny, intelligent, and genuinely caring people. Saying goodbye is always really hard; you’re stuck between, 1. Wanting to just hug everyone and tell them, again, how much you REALLY loved meeting them and getting to know them, honestly, and 2. Maintaining professionalism and avoiding over-doing it, to the point where it’s uncomfortable. Luckily, the people that I’ve worked with over the past ten weeks didn’t mind a bit of hugs and sappy goodbyes. They even threw me a little going-away party in the conference room, complete with cupcakes appropriately topped with plastic lambs (a reference to both my last name and the agricultural venture I’m taking on next).

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Here’s the panicked mid-fellowship to-do list that I typed at the start of Week 6. Everything on the list has been completed and crossed off (except the writing of this very blog post and a few more goodbyes that need to be said), and that is something that felt like a momentous task when the list was compiled. However, a little bit of focus, planning, and self-imposed deadlines go a long way. All of the research from the summer has been compiled into one giant 220-slide PowerPoint presentation and will be accessible to people throughout Alvis House. I was able to meet with some of the department heads to discuss the implications, and it felt good to know that the information gathered will be helpful when moving forward with programming, etc.

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Thank you Alvis House—especially my supervisor, Jennifer, as well as Gloria, April, Arlene, and Denise, the President and CEO—for the amazing experience! And thank you to the Columbus Foundation for the wonderful opportunity as well.

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The incredible spirit of Columbus

Today was the final closing luncheon for the 2013 Fellowship, and I have to say: it was amazing.

All of the Fellows had been giving each other updates on their projects and what they were experiencing at their organizations throughout the course of the summer, but it was awesome to see the final results and to hear about everyone’s accomplishments. We all worked in such a wide variety of tasks this summer: some ran summer camp activities and planned educational experiences, some helped small businesses get a foot in the door, some facilitated research and archived data, and some coordinated whole systems of volunteers. The Fellowship was a very interesting and insightful experience. My own experience at Alvis House was beyond wonderful in and of itself, but having a network of other Fellows working at other organizations at the same time was very eye-opening as well. I learned a lot about what Columbus has to offer, in terms of nonprofit work and organizations, for-profits and social enterprise, and of course all of the awesome recreational activities—events, restaurants, neighborhood haunts—that make this city unique.

Columbus has treated me very well over the past four years, and I’m so thrilled that I was able to get to know it as well as I have. Even though I am planning on traveling and moving around a bit over the next couple of years, I have a feeling that Columbus will always feel like home. I plan on coming back to visit every chance I get, if not settling down here permanently after I’ve wandered a bit.

So thank you to the Columbus Foundation, again, for the summer. Luckily, my Fellowship hasn’t ended just yet, so I will save my goodbyes to Alvis House for next week!

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Shutting Down in BizTown

The first day I sat in the Foundation for orientation, ten weeks stretched out ahead of me. 

And now I am in week ten. Not to be cliche – but I blinked.

I look back over the past few months and could not be more thankful that I spent the past two and a half months with Junior Achievement. I’m not sure what I expected when I first walked into this fellowship, but this summer has been incredible.

From day one, everyone at Junior Achievement pushed me to grow as a professional. I met some incredible people with amazing stories, and was given the privilege of learning from their expertise.

I walk from Junior Achievement  a little bit better informed and with my eyes a little bit more open. This summer has been the summer of ‘community.’ With events like the Casino Night Fundraiser or sitting in on board meetings I have learned how much an entire community are reliant on one another. I’ve seen how a donor can affect an entire program, how a local business can impact a community, and with my summer project: how an education policy affects everything else around it, specifically on a non-profit level.

Thank you Junior Achievement of Central Ohio for including me for a summer and teaching me so much. Whatever my next steps are, I will take a piece of this experience with me – wherever I go.

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One More Try

I don’t know how many times I can sit down to almost write a blog post about Family Night at RELC.  I’ve written 3/4 of a post half a dozen times, but it never quite feels right, so I inevitably scrap it and start over.  Even these first three sentences have been edited four times.  I don’t usually have trouble finding words, which makes this struggle even more perplexing.  I want to write about the most exciting, fulfilling, overwhelming experience of my summer, but I can’t find the words to do so eloquently.

Since this is my first summer with SON Ministries, I’ve never experienced a Family Night before.  I was told that typically there are 20-30 guests and that the evening focuses on a Potluck.  We tried something a little bit different with RELC this year.

The staff knew that Family Night had never been very well attended and they, as well as I, wanted to change that.  Our thought was that if the kids were excited about the evening then the parents would be willing to show up.

We started weeks in advance, letting the kids choose what they were interested in doing for a vague Family Night sometime in the future.  We ended up with four main groups: Sports, Dance, Art and Baking.  Then things progressed.

RELC FFNThe sports group created team names, jerseys, new soccer goals from scratch and a new dodgeball game.

photoThe dance group choreographed two original dances to two different songs, each lasting about five minutes (one that included audience participation).

photo (1)The baking group made chef hats, signs, banners, chocolate covered pretzels, cake balls, cookies, cupcakes, puppy chow and chocolate covered marshmallows (baked goods were frozen during the weeks prior and thawed the evening of the event).

RELC Box HouseThe art group created a box house, a box city, paper mache disco balls, and other miscellaneous crafts.

Like I said, we wanted the kids to want to be there.  They worked for weeks to get everything ready and seemed excited, but we also really wanted to make it a special night for them, too.  So we added a raffle.

The staff created three themed raffle prizes to give away on Family Night.  The kids earned tickets during camp for good behavior and for eating the vegetable of the day (usually carrots).  They also would receive tickets at the door if they showed up to Family Night.  The prizes were as follows:

  • Sports and Music: Soccer Ball, Basketball, 2x$10 iTunes gift cards, sports water bottle, OSU drawstring bag
  • Art: Various craft supplies including colored pencils, markers, crayons, modeling clay, paints, carrying case, $20 Michael’s gift card, coloring books and painting books.
  • Baking: Various baking supplies including mixing bowls, measuring cups, measuring spoons and cake mixes

So the stage was set.  We sent home RSVP forms with the kids the week prior to the big event and were already surprised at the numbers we were getting back.  Surely not every person that claimed to be attending would actually show, right?

RELC Family Night

I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong.  It was a great turn out. Just me, the staff, and over 150 guests.

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150 guests!?

This is where I start to struggle with words.  I was so overwhelmed by how many people were in attendance, how happy the kids were to be there, how well behaved they were and how much fun everybody was having that I spent the remainder of the evening walking around with a stunned smile on my face (a stubborn smile that wouldn’t come off for days afterward).  I watched as the baking group ran a bake sale, the dancers blew everybody away with their choreography, sports group battled for soccer supremacy and showed off their new dodgeball game and the art group toured box city.

I realize now that there aren’t any words I can put down that would accurately portray how amazing this night was, so let me give you the cliff notes.

The kids dreamed it, the kids did it, the community watched, and I was amazed.

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After All This Time? Always.

It’s hard to believe that my time at LifeCare Alliance is about to come to a close. I’ve busily spent the week finishing up my remaining projects and preparing for my final presentation at The Columbus Foundation.

I’ve been working to draft a fishing letter to pet food retailers in hopes of receiving donations of pet food and/or supplies. I’ve also written a similar letter to veterinary offices explaining LifeCare’s procedure of assisting clients with vet bills. Because most vet offices require payment up front, some practices have been weary to accept pre-approval as a place holder. After several drafts and a quick self-tutorial in Mail Merge, over 200 letters were finally mailed. Responses have started to come in this week, from both retailers and vet offices, and seeing the results of my hard work has been very rewarding.

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Fishing letters wait to be mailed

I have learned a lot during my summer with LifeCare, both in and out of the office. LifeCare Alliance has taught me a great deal about the needs of the Columbus community and the inner workings of a large non-profit agency. The staff has shown me the importance of thorough communication, teamwork, and the fun of staff lunches around Columbus. Columbus rush hour has taught me patience, and the Columbus Clippers and the Columbus Crew have shown me that there is team spirit to be found outside of Ohio Stadium.  It was an unforgettable summer, and I am so grateful to The Columbus Foundation and LifeCare Alliance for giving me this incredible opportunity.

LifeCare Alliance’s founder, Catherine Nelson Black, began the agency in 1898 thereby creating the first in-home health agency and Ohio’s first Visiting Nurse Association. Her motto was, “Take care of those no one else pays any attention to.” For the past 115 years, volunteers, donors, and staff members have dedicated themselves to caring for individuals that may have otherwise been overlooked. Some might wonder, after all this time? After all this time there are people willing to continually give their time, money, and resources to ensure that others receive what they need to live comfortably? The answer, as I have learned this summer, is quite simple. Always.

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