Weeks 9 & 10: That’s all she wrote!

Alright folks, I have to be completely honest that this is me being lazy (or efficient, however you look at it!). I’m combining weeks nine and ten into one blog post because they’ve both ran together and flown by way too quickly, in my opinion! So this is a long one but stick with me I promise it’ll be worth your time! Last week, I was able to connect with someone at Worthing United Methodist Church who wanted a group of kids to come out and do a “mini-mission” here at the pantry! Woohoo! During their time here, they got a tour of the pantry, they helped us stock our shelves with personal care items, and they helped decorate donation bags for kids to take home and collect items for the pantry.

 

Along with more administrative tasks associated with preparing for our fundraiser, week nine was very normal and busy. Kelly and I spent a lot of time going over what else we still need to gather and purchase for the event, so I connected with event rental places to get quotes on our table and chair needs. I also organized every item we have for our auction into an excel sheet, with fun, exciting, descriptions of all our raffle packages that’ll hopefully encourage people to bid on them! Week nine was also my last week with Kelly (she’s in Puerto Rico this week- Jealous!), which was pretty sad so we got to go out to eat to celebrate our time and work together!

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Our celebration at The Eagle in the Short North- STRONGLY recommend to anyone who loves good food. P.S. Isn’t she the cutest Director of Development ever?

During my last week here at the pantry, I’m still doing some good work towards prepping for our event! I spent some time making our sponsorship thank you letters, we are working towards advertising local businesses who are supporting our event, and I spent a LOT of time making a list of everything I’ve accomplished during my time as a Columbus Foundation fellow at the Worthington Resource Pantry.

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The list of tasks I completed at the pantry this summer.

You can read the whole thing if you’d like to, I promise there’s some good stuff in there. But what I’d like to write about at the end of this last post is what I learned from my experience this summer, both about non-profits and about myself:

  1. There is no such thing as a crazy idea.
  2. Keep your organization and personal missions at the center of all of your decisions.
  3. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
  4. Community involvement and sharing of ideas should create connections, not competition.
  5. Know your limits.
  6. Fundraising: If it doesn’t feel right, you aren’t doing it right.
  7. Say “yes” now and figure out the “how” later.
  8. There is a lot of power in positivity and enthusiasm. Passion in careers is possible and is not lost on everyone!
  9. The journey to the job you were always meant to have is not a straight road; it’s a road with many stops and detours.
  10. You don’t have to love every second of your job. However, you should love what results from your work and the person you are while you’re doing it. 

I would not change one thing about my experience this summer and will recommend this fellowship to anyone who asks! Everything I’ve done and learned this summer has set me up to succeed in my future endeavors. Speaking of which, after my time as a fellow I’m headed out to Salt Lake City to begin my job as a Public Health Advisor! Woohoo! Life is short, so do meaningful work and hustle hard while you can.

Natalie

 

 

 

 

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Week 10: thank you

That’s all folks. I want to dedicate this blog post to reflection and gratitude. This opportunity came out of the blue for me. I was not even aware that the fellowship program existed, or even the Columbus Foundation for that matter, when I received an email mid January asking me to apply. I remember opening the email as I sat next to my boss at Mills James, whoops, and then immediately asking her about the possibility of me taking time off if I was accepted. She said yes. I applied. I was selected. Here I am and now it’s over.

Next week, I will go back to my job at Mills James. A week and a half later, I will go back to school for the last time. While I am excited for what is ahead, I am very thankful for what I am leaving behind. DSC has taught me many things, which I hope to elaborate on during the Friday luncheon. This fellowship has given me more hands-on professional experience than I could have hoped for. I am thankful.

I made a list of accomplishments. I hope I never forget the value of this experience.

  • Selected/researched marketing firms
  • Wrote/sent Request for Proposal (RFP) to prospective firms
  • Conducted CRM research
  • Co-edited “Case for Support” doc
  • Copy-edited DSC website content
  • Sent thank you letters to sponsors and donors
  • Created excel spreadsheet of Ohio Civic Group’s contact info
  • Contacted Civic Groups inquiring speaking opportunities
  • Created a price comparison chart for bidding marketing firms
  • Drafted questions for marketing firms
  • Collected/contacted references for marketing firms
  • Shadowed interpreting department, early intervention, and summer work youth experience
  • Collected/documented impact stories from DSC employees
  • Created spreadsheets of best porspect foundations for DSC’s needs: Deaf giving, Early Intervention, OYO Camp, and Building Campaign
  • Created/presented Pecha Kucha on experience (almost)
  • Drafted a vocab list for ASL 2 classes
  • Completed 10 blog posts on experience
  • Drafted/completed evaluation conducted by supervisor, Amy Bullard (per fellow fellow’s recommendation)

 

Thank you DSC. Thank you Columbus Foundation. Thank you Fellows.

Karlee H.

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Week Nine

This week I was focused on the Learning Garden fundraiser and making sure that everything is coming together. Even though I was worried about not selling enough tickets, we ended up filling all of the spots we needed to, which is really exciting and affirming. I’m grateful for the support that I’ve gotten from everyone that works out in the park and it’s been really fun to work with them to come up with ideas for the event.

Working with Chef Kuukua has been particularly rewarding in this process. She shares the same passion for the community building capability of food and cooking that I do. Sitting down and discussing the menu and logistics of the event turned quickly into us getting to know one another better. I found out that her goal is to have a restaurant that serves as a conversation space for people who might not otherwise interact to get to know one another and breach cultural divides. As I’ve gotten to know Chef Kuukua, I’m more and more pleased that she agreed to do a cooking demo for us and excited for the experience she’s going to facilitate for the fundraiser.

The new Learning Garden education center, the Hoover Haven, is getting it’s finishing touches put on this week. It turns out that we will actually be able to hold the fundraiser inside the space, like I originally planned, rather than outside, which works out since we won’t have to worry about possible inclement weather. The Hoover staff has done an incredible job with the renovation and it’s going to be perfect for hosting Asempe Kitchen.

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New Perspective

I have always hated asking people for donations of any kind. When I sold cookies as a Girl Scout, candy bars for a marching band trip, and raffle tickets at FFA banquets, I was constantly thinking about how awkward it was to ask and how it made me feel so uneasy. I’m very interested in the mission of many non-profits as well as the focus on community outreach and service, but I never pictured myself in a fundraising-focused position. However, I had the opportunity recently to meet with Jamie Foltz, Sr. Director of Strategic Partnerships at RMHC, and she explained her role in the organization to me, along with the roles of the rest of her team, who work heavily in development. The development sector in non-profit organizations encompasses a lot of things, including building relationships, meeting with potential donors and talking about investment options, overseeing fundraising efforts, event planning, and looking for ways to involve the community in the mission of the organization. Through this conversation, I have gained an entirely new perspective.

One of the biggest contributors to this new perspective was a statement I heard from both Jamie and one of our amazing speakers at the Columbus Foundation-“Courtney, you’re not asking for yourself”. Such a simple but truthful reminder. There is no need to feel uneasy about fundraising requests because the intent behind the request is not self-motivated. Fundraising professionals in non-profits are asking others to donate to a meaningful cause that they believe in. It’s easy to talk about something that you’re really passionate about, and to explain the significance of something so close to your heart. This passion has been apparent all summer as I’ve watched the way that staff from RMHC interact with members of the community. It’s not just a business transaction; it involves learning about that other person’s mission and goals and connecting those with the mission of your organization. Thinking of fundraising in this way not only eases my mind and makes it more exciting than daunting, but also makes me feel more qualified to do it-because people who truly care are the best candidates for explaining to other people why they should care as well.

Another important bit of perspective that I’ve gained this summer is that people WANT to give. We don’t have to beg and plead or inconvenience people; there are plenty of kindhearted individuals who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and who simply want to help. They are eager to give of their time and financial resources to a worthy cause, and they feel excited and fulfilled when they can contribute. A lot of people are unaware of the many ways that they can get involved through non-profit organizations and make a positive impact on their communities, and non-profit employees who work in development, like Jamie’s team, aim to find and connect those people productively, which is pretty exciting.

Finally, the most ironic part about my change in mindset is that as much as I thought I disliked fundraising, one of my favorite aspects of non-profit organizations lies at the heart of fundraising. As a past FFA president, Resident Advisor, and very involved student at OSU, I have been planning events of all shapes and sizes for years. I enjoy the challenge and even the chaos that event planning presents, and I love the opportunity to be creative and have free reign over a project. As it turns out, the majority of event planning in non-profit organizations is for the purpose of fundraising!

I’m really thankful to have had the opportunity to connect with Jamie and other fundraising leaders in Columbus, and I feel so enlightened about the impact that these people can have at the organizational and community level. As Jamie was explaining all of the aspects of her position, I was thinking about how the majority of those tasks felt like a dream job to me, and how crazy it was that something I thought I would hate would turn out to be one of my favorite things. I’ll be continuing to volunteer with RMHC throughout the school year, and a lot of my work will involve helping to plan events with the development team. I look forward to continuing to learn and seeing all that my new role as a volunteer holds!

-Courtney

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Rollie Rollie Rollie with a Dab of Ranch

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…

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Seeing the Bigger Picture

In these past weeks, I’ve learned so much about evictions and some of the causes and impacts surrounding them. While I have been looking only at Homeport’s residents, I know that this is a huge issue across our community. I have had the opportunity to attend events and meetings to learn more about what eviction means at an individual and community level, and what can be done to prevent it.

My work lately has been focused on data collection and entry. I have begun looking at some descriptive statistics, but unfortunately will not be able to finish the entire analysis during my time here. My supervisors and I have found that the data collection aspect is much more tedious than we originally expected, and have uncovered some inconsistencies in the way that some data is collected. We also experienced a couple technical issues in the different databases, which slowed the process further. However, I have learned from others that this is the nature of the work—data can be very difficult to navigate through. With so many databases to use, I’ve learned that pulling the data and putting into a usable format can be very time-intensive.  I’m not necessarily disappointed by this, but glad that I learned about it. I didn’t have much experience with data collection or analysis before this, so I’m thankful that I have learned more about the process and the issues that arise.

As I head into my final week, I’m excited to examine more descriptive statistics. I’ve identified some demographic trends, and gained an idea of eviction and late payment patterns. This data can tell stories of Homeport’s residents, and I’m interested in seeing what it reveals. Everything is beginning to come together to form a bigger picture, and what it shows can help Homeport reduce evictions in our community.

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Farewell Godman Guild

Hello Everyone!

          This is the start of our last week with our host organizations. As our time is wrapping up, I can’t help but reflect on all of the opportunities I’ve had this summer. Since that list of opportunities is too long to fit into one post, I’ll take this blog entry to bid my farewell to Godman Guild.

          In case some of you guys forgot, I have been working with the Godman Guild all summer throughout my fellowship with Green Columbus. Helping out with their summer employment KEYS program, I have been working with 14 – 15 year olds all summer on environmental education. This Wednesday will be my last day working with the program, and we are taking a trip to AEP to learn about their environmental initiatives in the corporate energy sector.

          I wanted to take the time on this post to thank the Godman Guild for letting me collaborate with them this summer. While at times the program was a little rocky, I hope the teens in the program learned as much from me as I did from them. The past ten weeks have opened my eyes to the social structure of Columbus, and the Columbus community outside of Ohio State.

          For the first time in my life, I was treated as a professional adult this summer. I was able to sit in on meetings, interview candidates for the program, and provide insight when problem solving. I am truly appreciative of the opportunities that Godman Guild has provided for me. I wish the best of luck to all of the 14 – 15 year olds in KEYS program moving forward, I know you guys will do great things in life!

                                                                                               Until next time,

                                                                                                          Jake

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