Week two has come and gone in the blink of an eye. This past Wednesday morning, the group of summer fellows gathered at the Columbus Foundation to exchange how our experiences have been going so far, what we have learned, challenges, and future tasks for the upcoming weeks. I feel as if it was extremely valuable to hear firsthand about what the organizations are accomplishing in our community, and in particular what the fellows role is, and how different each of our projects are across the board. Each of us have very different tasks, which I think shows another dynamic to what makes not for profit organizations so wonderful. In addition, most of us are required to serve more than one role, therefore giving us the ability and opportunity to learn in many different areas, while also keeping us on our toes each day.
Following our conversations, we had the chance to listen, engage, and network with five nonprofit leaders at various organizations in Columbus. We heard a little bit about their background, an overview of the organization, their role, different challenges they face, and what motivates them to do the work they do. Simply put, it was motivating and inspiring to hear from these individuals. It is no secret that many of those at non-profits dedicate entire lives to their work, often working abounding hours for subordinate pay. However, what I found most encouraging and enlightening is the amount of fulfillment that these individuals receive from their work. One of the leaders from the Columbus Foundation gave us a piece of advice, “do what allows you to live.”
With just two weeks under my belt at LifeCare Alliance, I have been inspired by the dedication each and every member at LifeCare gives to their work. As I have assisted with a meal route, seen smiling and joyous faces enjoying meals at Carrie’s Café, and volunteered in the pantry, I have begun to develop an understanding as to why every detail of work that each person does at LifeCare Alliance is so important. The tasks each staff member complete each day is so important to making the big picture come together to make sure all 15,000 clients are successfully served. All 15,000 clients depend on the volunteers and staff members to keep them healthy and in the comfort of their own homes. In essence, I have learned why each person is so persistent and dedicated to their role, because without their hard work, serving clients would not be possible. Their work has a greater purpose. Success comes as one finds meaning in their work, when one cares about the work they’re doing, as one builds relationships with other staff members and clientele, and when one not only does what allows them to survive, but to live.
As I reflect back on week two and look forward to week three, I feel overwhelmed with opportunity because I am surrounded by those who truly enjoy the work they do. I am eager to continue to learn and engage with them. This past week I was able to volunteer in the pantry, help with putting on a style show in Carrie’s Café (where I got to model, too!), attend a Farmer’s Market coupon distribution volunteer orientation, create a template for a new Carrie’s Café calendar, create a template for the Senior Dining Center flyer, observe and enter data from the fan campaign, analyze a Carrie’s Café survey, and attend a grant research webinar. With each day I am learning new life skills and ways in which non-profits are run. I am looking forward to what this week has in store to not only continue my work but to “live” through my work as well.