We invited Joanna Ezratty, our 2015 summer intern through Cornell University’s Blumenthal Internship Program, to write about her experience working for us these past couple of months. We will miss her and the valuable contributions she made during her short time here. Thanks Joanna!
Concluding Thoughts on My Summer Internship
I have always been told by parents, friends, and teachers that a summer internship experience is incredibly valuable, but I never truly digested their words until I was able to have the experience myself. This summer I had the privilege of interning at Westchester Children’s Association. Interning at WCA has taught me an immense amount about the nonprofit world and has provided me with the opportunity to learn about the various sectors within the organization including data analysis, programming, and communications.
How I Learned To Love Data
For a long time I associated the word “data” with large numbers and never-ending Excel spreadsheets. After interning at WCA, however, the word “data” has come to mean something very different to me. I no longer view data as a potential source of confusion, but rather a source of clarity if interpreted properly. During my internship I helped locate and collect some of the data presented in the Community Snapshots published last week. I used resources such as the New York State Education Department website, the US Census Bureau, and the American Fact Finder, all of which contain data sets readily available to the public. Although at times the data collection was a bit tedious, and the numbers seemed foreign, the end result was well worth the grunt work. The infographics published by WCA present a great deal of information about their respective communities. Data alone may not be enough, but if we are willing to question it, sift through it and analyze it, data has the power to tell a meaningful story.
A Peek at Programming
As an advocacy organization, WCA does not provide direct services, but during my time here I got to witness WCA directly involve themselves with the Westchester County community. WCA is constantly working with other nonprofits in Westchester, communicating with the county government and creating awareness on important issues impacting youth. As an intern, I was able to attend numerous coalition meetings and help plan WCA events. On June 25th, WCA led a collective impact forum. This forum was part of WCA’s GPS4Kids initiative and brought together various individuals in the nonprofit world. I was also involved in orchestrating a celebratory youth rally that took place in White Plains on July 22nd. Both of these programs were very successful and it was very rewarding to see my work and the hard work of the WCA staff come to fruition.
Patience, Persistence and Positivity
Many of the skills I have acquired from working at WCA are certainly tangible. My basic computer skills have improved, my writing abilities have developed, and the list goes on. However, a great deal of what I learned cannot be pin pointed or synthesized into a single blog post. As a summer intern, I got to see what WCA does and how WCA functions on a day to day basis. I had the chance to sit in on WCA board meetings, observe staff meetings, listen in on conference calls, and most importantly always ask questions. I witnessed firsthand the importance of teamwork, patience and persistence in order to get the job done. These lessons are invaluable and I am grateful to have learned these lessons in such a positive and stimulating environment like WCA.
Thank you WCA for a great experience! I can’t wait to see what great things this organization will continue to accomplish.