By Lauren Marks, JEVS Intern (Temple University Class of 2018)
I know what you are thinking, but it’s true. I was chosen for this internship for a reason.
Since I was a sophomore at Temple University, I told others that I want to work in advertising for a non-profit agency. This summer, while being fully immersed in the non-profit work environment, my feelings were further validated that I have made the right choice. As a Franklin C. Ash Summer Intern (a program of JEVS Human Services), I was given the honor to work alongside Kristen Rantanen in the JEVS Communications & Public Affairs Department. Through the past six weeks, I have been able to complete some incredible projects, as well as learn new skills. These projects include writing the Inspiration Award nomination profiles for JEVS Strictly Business event, organizing the newsletter with members of our Philadelphia Independence Network (PIN), and running the agency’s Instagram at larger-scale events. It has been so great getting to do this work, and it makes me so happy.
I have also enjoyed getting to know my new friend and mentee from another JEVS youth program, Lasko College Prep Program. Being an Ash Intern is incredibly special, because I am given allotted time to spend special moments with my mentee and the other Lasko and Ash interns. I enjoy being a mentor, because I have always found people that I look up to, and it is really nice to know that I am that person to my mentee. On the days that we are all together, we have gotten to know each other better through great interactive activities. My mentee and I had the most fun during the Mitzvah Day; we spent the afternoon at JEVS’ group homes decorating plant pots and making lunch with our new friends, James and Eddie. Though James and Eddie did not communicate much verbally, it was really important for us to go. I know that we made their day. My mentee and I also really enjoyed the Challah Bake. We were fortunate enough to volunteer with Challah for Hunger and get the chance to braid and bake our own Challah. I had no idea what a master Challah maker my mentee was until that day. We had a great time and were able to make lasting memories.
I am someone who likes to help people. As the community service (tzedek) chair of Hillel at Temple University, it has always been my mission to help people in need. But I want to do more than that. With the theme of the summer at the Ash and Lasko programing being Tikun Olam (Repairing the World), it seemed so fitting that I was placed in the Communications office where I was fortunate enough to meet members of some of their most inspiring programs: Philadelphia Independence Network, The Choice is Yours, and E3 Power Center City, just to name a few.
Coming up on my last week at my internship, I think back. I think about how six weeks ago, I did not know anything about designing a graphic online, following Google’s analytics platform, or how to use certain design tools. Fast forward a little bit, and now I can confidently create flyers, infographics, and so much more. I felt like I knew social media well, then went to Philadelphia’s Social Media Day conference and realized how much more there is to know! I recall myself being nervous to be working in a corporate office, but now I am able to joke around with everyone in the office and have established great connections. Most importantly, I think fondly and reminisce about the things that I have seen. I witnessed more than 50 young adults switch over their tassels as they graduated and earned their high school diplomas. For many, a high school diploma is something that is taken for granted.
This is something I previously took for granted, but won’t anymore.
Interning at JEVS has been a humbling experience. I have done my best to be a better person since interning here. Now, when I walk down the street, I try to give the less fortunate any money or food that I have with me. Although I do not truly understand what they are going through, I have a greater appreciation of the situation, and I want to help others as much as I can. Anyone could have been a summer intern here, but I was chosen for a reason. I’m so glad that JEVS chose me.