My last week at the Hoover YMCA Park was pretty much a whirlwind. The Learning Garden fundraiser was held on Thursday, so I was working long hours to make sure that everything would be prepared in time. This was the first event like this that I’d ever organized and been responsible for running, which was a learning experience. There are so many moving parts to consider, but luckily I had the incredibly supportive Hoover team backing me up.
The Hoover Haven turned out so beautifully. The Hoover staff put so much hard work into the space all summer and it really showed. Even though we ran into some issues with outlets not working, overall the new education center is perfect for hosting events like this cooking demo. Some of the Y folks that attended the event were discussing how the Hoover Haven can be used in the future based on the success of the fundraiser, which was really gratifying for me to hear after working on this event all summer.
Now that my fellowship is over I plan to work for Chef Kuukua and Asempe Kitchen. I’ll be kind of a catch-all, doing everything from helping prepare and serve food to monitoring online fundraising campaigns and marketing. I’m grateful that my experience at Hoover led me to find a position like the one with Asempe Kitchen because it’s a perfect intersection of my passions and values as well as my past experiences. I want to continue making food accessible and using it to bring people together and bridge divides.
By Kelsie Fields
It’s so exciting to look back on where we all started ten weeks ago. Meeting with everyone this morning and hearing about all the amazing successes our cohort has had at their various organizations. To cap off this amazing summer, I want to share just a few practical and universal lessons I learned from my fellowship at the Westerville Symphony.
1. Just ask! I learned so much from my supervisor, Sean Brewster, but most importantly, I learned to just ask for things. We were able to secure many donations and swag items for our runners by simply asking. We were able to get all of our t-shirts sponsored by just asking. It seems crazy, but it works.
2. Another lesson I learned is the importance of adapting your programming to your audience. During the fall and spring, we host symphonic performances that feature excellent musicians and music selections, but for some people, these concerts have barriers. We want everyone to experience the magic of classical music in their own way, and to do this, you have to get creative. During the summer, we host two free concerts that are outside, and we also have a programmed targeted at pre-schoolers. These programs allow us to think outside of the box and ultimately reach more people with music!
3. Thirdly, I learned the importance of self-awareness and the usefulness of understanding your strengths. Knowing how you work best and the steps you typically take to solve a problem can be very useful when working with a small team. I learned to communicate more effectively about how I work and the strengths I bring to the table, and this skill will be useful to me in my career.
4. Lastly, I learned more about this wonderful city. Columbus has no equal in the way it makes me feel at home. Being a part of such a local, community-minded organization was inspiring and altogether fun.
Thank you to my fellow fellows, The Columbus Foundation, and to Sean and the Westerville Symphony for a fantastic summer. Long live the spirit of Columbus!
Gray, rainy mornings always make me feel a bit gloomy. This morning was no different as I tried not to hydro-glide while driving on the freeway. In the past couple of weeks, my work load at Central has tremendously slowed down in preparation for my departure. These past few days, I have found myself stopping by people’s offices and timidly asking while trying not to annoy them, “Is there anything you need help with?”
This morning, when I arrived at Central, already a bit gloomy from the weathered drive there, I sat at my desk, trying to figure out what work I could complete. I could not fully focus because I was hearing loud music and singing coming from the gymnasium. Noise is not rare in Central because we hold a summer camp, child care center, youth programs, and senior programs. But, usually the noise does not take away from my focus. I had to see what was going on in the gymnasium, so I went down there to only find that the summer camp kids were participating in a talent show!
I immediately forgot about my gloom and the work I had to do and enjoyed the show. The Assistant Director of Central and other employees were right next to me, enjoying it as well. We all felt that our work could wait!
I sat amazed by how talented the children were. The show included singers, gymnasts, cheerleaders, dancers, and even stand up comedians! Might I add that standup comedy is very difficult to do on the spot!!!! I think of myself as a very funny person, but standup comedy, the pressure of landing jokes at the exact right time, gaging the crowd, and ad-libbing is not my forte. Alas, three 9 to 11-year olds were doing it right in front of me and doing well. I recorded almost everything on my Snapchat, but also took some photos on my camera. At the end, we all danced to that “Rollie Rollie Rollie with a Dab of Ranch” song that the youth love these days. Then, I remembered that I had to return to work…
Hello, it’s Jake again!
Well, we are nearing the end of the Columbus Foundation Summer Fellowship. Tomorrow (Friday, August 11th) is the last day of our 10 week fellowship experience. It’s weird that this experience is almost over; it has absolutely flown by.
I’m thinking back to the first day that all of the fellows met at the Columbus Foundation. I’m sure everyone was just as nervous to begin the fellowship as I was, but nonetheless we all were prepared. That day seems like yesterday.
I am so grateful for all of the experiences that I have had over these past 10 weeks. I’d like to thank both Dan Sharpe and Dr. Lomax; both of you did a fantastic job facilitating the fellowship program. Thank you for planning all of the events/excursions; and more importantly, thank you for letting me join this immersive opportunity.
I’d also like to thank Claus Eckert, the executive Director of Green Columbus. Thank you Claus for taking me under your wing this summer, and showing me the operations of a non-profit organization. I will forever be thankful for everything you taught me in the past ten weeks!
Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone that I’ve worked with during this fellowship. For the first time, I felt like a valuable member of team. Thank you for valuing my input, education, and experience. It’s not often that people value the opinions and expertise of young professionals because of our age, but that was certainly not the case.
This experience has been absolutely incredible, and I will forever be thankful for the opportunities I’ve been granted over the past 10 weeks. I wish the best of luck to the other fellows as they move on.
Until next time,
It’s week ten somehow, some way. Ten weeks have flown by, filled with learning and growth and skunks. While I learned a lot about nonprofit management, marketing, outreach and development, I think what I will carry with me the most from this experience is the people. I came to Ohio Wildlife Center after a long year of political turmoil and disappointment. It’s too easy to become jaded with humanity. My cynicism about the nature of human beings was at an all time high at the beginning of this summer. Throughout my ten weeks here, I’ve been reminded again and again that there are many, many people who want to do good. I believe the good outnumbers the bad. There is nothing cynical about that. So I wanted to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you Kelly for taking a chance on me this summer, providing me this incredible opportunity and living an incredible example of being a mother and a leader simultaneously.
Thank you Judy for always making me laugh with your passion for food trucks, fun facts about interesting auction items and your cheeriness even on the rainiest of Mondays.
Thank you Sherry for your hilarious storytimes, admirable tenacity through tough times and monarch caterpillar expertise.
Thank you Julie for your career advice, wisdom and your steadfast approach to development and growth.
Thank you Stormy for your inexplicable ability to manage chaos, fix broken animals, connect with every single human and animal in a genuine way and drink warm Coke at the same exact time.
Thank you Becca for my little cutie plants that are thriving, letting me assist on duck release/hurricane adventures and your contagious bubbliness.
Thank you Jilly for saying Smeegle the way you do, caring about every living thing energetically and lovingly and being truly GOOD.
There’s so many other people that add so much light and energy to Ohio Wildlife Center that I don’t have space to mention here. Oh yeah– Logan. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For your eternal sassiness, passion for pretty much everything, supply of chocolate and willingness to help every single other employee, volunteer or duck. You work harder and care more than any other person I’ve ever met, that’s no exaggeration. You notice the little things around you, like when I brought a massive tupperware for my ranch and carrots so you bought me a little container or catching a monarch caterpillar to make Sherry’s day or saving my life with a car charger. I think the world would be a much, much better if we were all a little bit more like Logan Oates. I’m trying.
After this summer, I’ll be returning to Ohio State to complete the second half of my undergraduate experience. I still am deciding where I’m going from there but I know my experiences in outreach and development this summer will serve me well in any path I choose to pursue.
Thank you to the Columbus Foundation for providing me with this unique experience, creating space for education during the learning sessions, connecting me with some incredible individuals and last but not least, very good food.
I am very grateful, not cynical anymore, just grateful.
I can’t believe it’s time for this post already, but 10 weeks later I am (almost) finished with my position as a Marketing and Communications intern at the Ronald McDonald House. To say that I have learned a lot would be an understatement. I wanted to take some time in this final post to share a few of the most important lessons that I’ve learned this summer.
One thing that I observed to be true time and time again is that employees of non-profit organizations wear “many different hats”. Job descriptions are not set in stone, and roles are much more fluid than in a corporate setting. There is so much to be done, and with generally small staff teams, these people have to be willing to do it all. I have really enjoyed this aspect of working here because every day presents a new challenge. From data analyzation to driving a golf cart to turning the playground in the backyard into a castle, nothing is monotonous or boring.
Another major lesson that I’ve learned this summer is the importance of balance in this kind of work. Non-profit organizations are taking on BIG problems with limited resources. It is remarkable how much they can do, but the issues that they address are huge and complicated and cannot be solved in a day. With that being said, it’s so easy to let my empathetic side take over and to see all of the people still hurting and all of the things that are still not fixed. This makes me feel discouraged that the work that I’m doing is only a drop in the bucket. Countless speakers have reiterated to me this summer that it’s important to celebrate the small victories and not to overlook all of the little steps that play a role in big solutions, and to practice self-care to protect yourself against burnout. These are bits of wisdom that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my career.
Finally, through my day to day interactions at RMHC and the many lessons I’ve gained from the Columbus Foundation, I’ve learned that there are three major ingredients that contribute to success in the non-profit world. These are 1) dedicated, mission oriented staff, 2) community support (both financial and otherwise), and 3) reliable volunteers. It would be a huge oversimplification to say that these are the only ingredients a non-profit will ever need to succeed, but if the organization has these three things, it will have a solid foundation to build and grow on.
It feels so strange transitioning from being a full time intern at RMHC back to being a full time student, but luckily my time at RMHC is not finished. I look forward to continuing as a volunteer throughout the school year and gaining an additional non-profit experience as an intern in the Development department. I’m really excited to take on this new position and to stay connected to such an amazing organization that I have come to love in just a few short months. I also hope that this new position will help me to continue to learn more about myself, my skills, and my passions as it relates to potential career opportunities.
Thanks for reading!! And thanks to the Columbus Foundation for putting together such an incredible fellowship program. Paid internships in the non-profit sector are difficult to find, let alone fellowships that also include impactful professional development opportunities and connections to such a valuable network. This opportunity has been a blessing in so many ways. I have truly enjoyed getting to know the other fellows and hearing from some outstanding community leaders in Columbus. The wisdom that they’ve shared with us makes me excited for my own career possibilities, and I know that I will take these lessons with me in whatever lies ahead.