Wrapping it Up

As I get ready for my last “first day of school” on Wednesday, I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on the amazing journey I took this summer with the Columbus Foundation and Ohio Designer Craftsmen.  I started this fellowship knowing virtually nothing about the non-profit sector in Columbus, and having limited knowledge of the skills, connections, and surprises that come when one works in this varied and challenging field.  Now, after weeks of works, projects completed, learning sessions attended, and the presentation given, I can truly say that I have taken away so much this summer, and wholeheartedly believe that my work has both helped me polish skills that I already possessed and learn new skills and information that will help me as I finish graduate school and enter the non-profit sphere as an eager young professional.  I am so inspired by everyone I met through the Columbus Foundation, including the other fellows, the guests who shared their work and passions with us, my co-workers at the Ohio Craft Museum, the Columbus Foundation staff, and – of course – my talented and wonderful campers and helpers at Young Masters Summer Camp.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, grad school is great, but it can really burn you out.  At the end of the last school year, I was definitely feeling the burn and was more focused on the “what” I was studying and doing rather than the “why.”  All of the people who shared their passions this summer played a part in rekindling my fire for “why” – why the arts matter in our world, why people need creative outlets, why education is so important for people of all ages, why we need to step up and fight for the things we believe in, and why those who CARE will be the ones who can really make a difference in our world.  I can’t wait to keep asking those important questions and fight for the things I believe in.  Thanks for an amazing summer!

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A Reflection…

Being involved in the fellowship program was a unique and rewarding experience. Having the opportunity to interact with patients at the Charitable Pharmacy and assist them throughout the duration of the summer proved to be a great experience. After having time to reflect, I believe that there needs to be more charitable pharmacies. The charitable pharmacies that currently are in the state (three altogether) have proven to continue to be more effective, efficient and accessible for individuals who need the services and resources of the pharmacies. With a growing focus on access to healthcare, which includes pharmacy services, especially at the local level, I am glad that the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio are evaluating ways to expand their reach and bridge gaps related to access to healthcare. For current students or recent graduates who are interested in learning more about the nonprofit sector, and have a desire to engage in career-related work, I would highly recommend The Columbus Foundation Summer Fellowship Program.

On the ends- Fellowship Program Advisors Dan Sharpe and Melissa Neely. (L-R) Fellows: Chris, Me, Susie, and Julia

On the ends- Fellowship Program Advisors Dan Sharpe and Melissa Neely. (L-R) Fellows: Chris, Me, Susie, and Julia

What’s next? Classes at The Ohio State University start next week, where I will be completing my last semester. I am excited to be a member again of Community Symphonic Orchestra during my last semester, which is the orchestra for non-music majors at Ohio State. I have been playing the violin since the fourth grade, and I am glad that I have continued to engage in this activity.

Overall, from being a participant in The Columbus Foundation Summer Fellowship Program, I have learned to expect the unexpected. Expect to take on challenges you never expected, to not be afraid to make mistakes, and most importantly, to learn and make the most of each and every experience you have, whether professionally or personally. And for students, you can help strengthen and improve the community for the benefit of all, in many ways, whether you are a participant in The Columbus Foundation Summer Fellowship Program or not- it starts from within.

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In Conclusion….

 

                So about a week after my last organized activity with FLOW I am getting ready for a new adventure in my life. I start my law school orientation at Cleveland-Marshall on Monday and will be away from Columbus for some time after I attend tonight’s Crew game and begin to get settled in Cleveland. The Fellowship has proven to be a wonderful capstone of my four years of school and work in Columbus and I am glad to have concluded with both the Foundation and FLOW. Getting to know the many volunteers associated with FLOW has been a joy and pleasure just as it has been getting to know Dan and Melissa with the Foundation. Reading some of the other Fellows posts, I can tell that my experience was not singular, and that we have all gained a great deal from this experience.

                FLOW has taught me a lot about protecting and enhancing our natural resources and  has allowed me to see the positive effect organizations like FLOW can have on a community. As I wrote in my post about Toledo’s emergency, water might be our state’s greatest natural resource. But unless we take care of it, and make people aware that it must be taken cared of then we are no better off than many other places in our world. That is where FLOW has been a positive influence on my own personal awareness, but also has helped this area’s water literacy.

                Moving forward it may be necessary for the things that FLOW has done on a volunteer basis, become the action of municipalities or the state. Tree plantings, and rain gardens can do a lot to prevent and protect our waterways from degradation by both erosion and excess nutrients and are also cheaper than spending more money on retaining walls and at the water treatment plant.  In the meantime FLOW and other environmental organization will do their part to protect both the environment, and our freshwater.               

                Although I am moving on to a new stage in my life, I look forward to seeing the many people that I’ve met over the summer again and to comeback to meet future fellows as well as to be a part of FLOW events when I can. For any potential Fellows out there I strongly recommend this program and hope it continues to harbor and develop students dedicated to the city and its people. Likewise if you are looking to enjoy the outdoors while protecting our environment then please come volunteer with FLOW. Both have been an enjoyment to me and a valuable part of my life.

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Summertime Sadness

I cannot believe the fellowship has ended! This post is devoted to my top 3 take aways (in no particular order) of the summer.

1.) Summer Educational Programming-Coordinating the summer brain gain program was definitely one of the largest projects I have ever participated in. Working with the national organization to ensure we received solid data to evaluate the program was a valuable experience.  I am excited to receive the results and see how the students performed. This is only the second year the program has been in existence, so it will be important to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the program. Additionally, the results of the member surveys will be interesting. I cannot wait to see if any of the students changed their opinion about learning throughout the summer.

 

2.) Career Launch- The Boys and Girls Clubs has several amazing programs that they run throughout the summer and school year. However, one of my favorites

Career Launch at Huntington!

Career Launch at Huntington!

is definitely career launch. One reason I love this program is because I was able to see it have a direct impact on students in just 8 weeks! I remember at the beginning of the program when the members had no idea how to fill out a resume, let alone a cover letter. They complained about the workshops, and were extremely nervous about the mock interviews. However, after visiting Bank of America in early July they knew what to expect. The next two trips to Nationwide and Huntington were even more successful than the first visit.

3.) Professional Development- I had many great experiences this summer. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus gave me every opportunity to immerse myself in the true culture of a nonprofit. I wore many hats and learned how to adapt to an environment that always changed. Having the opportunity to attend and present at the board meetings was memorable. I am excited to see their plans for the future come to fruition. In my last week I was even given the opportunity to write and research a few grants! 

The Boys and Girls Clubs spot on the mural at the Columbus Foundation!

The Boys and Girls Clubs spot on the mural at the Columbus Foundation!

Wakeopolis! Definitely one of my favorite field trips!

Wakeopolis! Definitely one of my favorite field trips!

Overall this was an amazing summer with great people in a great city!

 

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Patient Advising..and Flashing Lights!

Making finalizations to the patient healthcare savings guide and contact sheet, along with a patient survey were among my priorities last week. The development of the patient healthcare savings guide and the patient survey were well-received. After speaking and interacting with patients about the healthcare savings guide, they mentioned that receiving information on Ohio Medicare Savings Programs as well as contact information on various state agencies and entities where they can address and receive information on health insurance options is beneficial. Speaking with patients of the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio made me cognizant that many patients do not know what their health insurance options are. In fact, most of the patients I interacted with seemed to have no health insurance at all. All in all, patients mentioned that the information on Medicare and Medicaid is helpful, and provides them an opportunity of where to start and seek the information they need as well as how to enroll. Patients also were favorable toward the patient survey and thought it accurately assessed and gauged their opinion on health insurance. Suggestions included offering the healthcare savings guide to patients as part of the enrollment process, which the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio will be rolling out.

It was exciting to see patients embrace the patient guide and survey. I believe many patients realize that the process of retrieving information on health insurance options and the process of enrollment can be complex, and that receiving this information in a guide will be useful and reduce the amount of time spent to retrieve this information. Prior to the start of the fellowship, I knew of general information regarding Medicare and Medicaid, but I did not understand the some of the complexity involved with understanding Medicare Savings Plans and health insurance options available itself. Nearing the end of the fellowship, I now better understand details about Medicare and Medicaid as well as programs and places that can help individuals with application assistance and health-related inquiries.

Firefighters on site at the Charitable Pharmacy immediately after a patient passed out on my last day.

Firefighters on site at the Charitable Pharmacy immediately after a patient passed out on my last day.

On my last day at the Charitable Pharmacy, a patient passed out in the waiting room. Firefighters were called immediately to assist the patient. The patient was dehydrated, and taken to a local hospital. The quick response of the Pharmacists and Staff at the Charitable Pharmacy are noteworthy!

My last post will include closing thoughts and a reflection about The Columbus Foundation Summer Fellowship Program.

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The Last Day

Yesterday was an extremely busy day at CRIS. There were a lot of housekeeping jobs that needed to be completed before I leave Friday. With the hiring of a new cultural orientation teacher and new case worker assistants, the resettlement office had to be shifted around to make room for new desks. I am used to this type of work at CRIS as Ruby Wolfe, the assistant financial director of CRIS, had me do lots of it last summer when I helped move CRIS from their old office to their current one. After the office was rearranged, Ruby and I went to the Byers Dodge and Jeep dealership on S. Hamilton to pick up a new van for the resettlement team. A brand new 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan, no bells and whistles but man that van is spacious and CLEAN for once. The rest of the day included putting together home supply kits for newly arrived clients and assisting a secondary migrant Algerian family who I have been helping out the past two weeks.

There were many farewells yesterday, but none of them contained an aura of goodbye forever. Working at CRIS this summer and last summer created the opportunity for me to get to know most of the employees who work there. These are people whom I not only work with, but am also friends with too. Although my time at CRIS for this summer is over, I know that I am always welcome to come back and help out once I complete my last year of college. This entire summer experience would not be as enjoyable or financially rewarding had I not decided to spend the extra time in January and apply for the Summer Fellows program. It has truly been and amazing experience and I cannot wait to share my experience with the Columbus Foundation later today!

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Reflecting on Roses

This weekend, I had the privilege of visiting Columbus’ esteemed Park of Roses. While visiting, I got to learn a bit of history about one of the city’s most celebrated landmarks. The Park of Roses, previously known as Whetstone Park, has been a geographic and community staple of Columbus since 1944. The fertile land was initially used by local residents to grow victory gardens during World War II. After the war ended and Americans recovered, the needs and interests of the Columbus community changed, and the park adapted accordingly. In 1952, the American Rose Society decided to move from Pennsylvania to Columbus. A more central location as well as close access and partnership with The Ohio State University’s School of Agriculture appealed to the society, and thus, Columbus was the obvious choice for the American Rose Society’s new home.

Due to harsh Ohio winters, the American Rose society moved further south in the late 1960’s. However, that did not stop the Park of Roses from remaining a Columbus community fixture. The park became an experimentation area for “heritage roses” or naturally occurring roses that had fallen endangered since the commercialization of roses. The exploratory efforts sparked a new interest in gardening in the public, and soon Columbus citizens from all different backgrounds we coming together to garden as a community.

40 years later, the Park of Roses recognized our community’s newest issues concerning environmental sustainability and, once again, responded accordingly. An Earth-Kind garden was implemented so that gardeners and agriculturists could explore ways to restore roses’ natural cultivation processes to help them survive the changing weather with little maintenance.

So, what does this mean to me, a young professional exploring the non-profit sector? Why do I care so much about the 70-year story of a rose garden? To me, the history of the Park of Roses is largely about identifying needs in your community and adapting to meet those needs. In 1944, we needed victory gardens to support ourselves while the majority of our countries resources were being shipped overseas. Today, as climate change becomes increasingly concerning, we need to innovate ways to work with nature rather than against it. The Park of Roses is just one of Columbus’ attractions that aims to do more than provide a pleasant service; it consistently and impactfully responds to the needs of its own community.

I think that may be one of the biggest transformations I’ve made over the summer. Ten weeks ago, when I asked why I want to explore the non-profit professional sector, I would probably have given a vague description about wanting to help people and “do good.” While this is a good mindset, it’s a pretty weak goal. Watching successful non-profits and public services in action has made me realize I want to do more than simply “help out;” I want to have a significant hand in impacting and sustaining a community in which I want to live. I want to respond to the needs of my community and move it forward. I want to be a major player in a community that adapts and grows as needs and interests change. This type of leadership and initiative seems to be more often associated with high-level business executives, but why is that? Why is shaping a corporation called leadership when shaping and supporting an entire community is shrugged off as “helping out”? I realize now that working in the non-profit sector is much more than glorified volunteering – it means being a leader, an innovator, and a catalyst for positive change in the world you live in.

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