My name is Melissa Lester; I’m a graduate student (MSW II) at The Ohio State University College of Social Work. Additionally, I have a B.A. from OSU in sociology. Originally I am from Marion, Ohio which is about 51 miles north of Columbus. I recently moved to Columbus about five months ago to the east side near Bexley. Ironically, I moved to Columbus to be closer to school, my practicum, and to career opportunities such as this fellowship, but I am finding I have to drive to lots of places because Columbus is bigger than I realized. My fellowship with Cancer Support Community Central Ohio (CSC_CO) is currently located in Powell. However, the office will move from Sawmill Parkway to 1200 Old Henderson Road, Columbus, Ohio43220. If anyone knows anyone suffering from cancer or care-giving for someone with cancer then tell them to check out Cancer Support Community Central Ohio, because they offer a wife-variety of services to help individuals with cancer and their families.
I’m excited for this fellowship and the opportunities it affords me. I’ve never had my own office until this fellowship so I’ve been given a glimpse into what it will be like when I am a licensed social worker (hopefully) with my own office. My glimpse tells me my future desk will be covered with paperwork like my current one is!
The Cancer Support Community Central Ohio provides free emotional support, education, and hope for people with cancer. They offer professionally led support groups, educational workshops, mind/body programs such as Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi, so people affected by cancer can learn the skills necessary to regain control, reduce stress, feelings of isolation, and restore hope.
My primary focus at CSC_CO will be to work on their west side expansion program. The west side of Columbus is underserved part of Columbus, so CSC_CO has plans to offer educational workshops and partnering with other nonprofits in the area to offer more opportunities for individuals living with cancer on the west side to incorporate healthier practices into their everyday life. I also will fill in with other projects, and at times support the Program Director, (my fellowship supervisor) Peg.
The first part of my week has been spent becoming familiar with everyone and the office environment. Cancer Support Community Central Ohio has countless volunteers and many of them work in the office so every day I have met a new face. It’s great to see that there are so many individuals willing to volunteer their time.
Towards the end of the week I helped a little with CSC _CO grant proposals, they are writing two that are due on Monday. This experience has exposed me to what the process of grant writing is like. Grant writing is a very marketable skill to have in social worker so at some point it’s a skill I plan to have. I’ve learned that grant writing is very time consuming and stressful. I have a new found respect for individuals that spent countless hours writing grants to fund projects they are passionate about. I also have a new found respect for individuals that work in the nonprofit sector, because they work way harder than I ever imagined. I knew they gave a lot of their time, heart and soul but I had no idea until my first week at CSC.
I look forward to my future opportunities and experience with this fellowship.