By Valerie Pasquale
Hi! I’m Valerie Pasquale and I’ve been working as the Outreach and Development Intern at Community Lodgings for 10 weeks. I’m a rising senior from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County studying Public Health, Biology and French with hopes to be a Community Health Educator! I was placed at Community Lodgings through The Washington Center for Academic Internships and Seminars and through this program I have spent my summer learning about the history of D.C., professionalism, advocacy, service- and how to be an intern. Thanks to Community Lodgings, I had a great summer internship experience and would like to share with you my guide on how to be a Community Lodgings intern.
Come to work (early and) EXCITED!
When you come in for a day of work at Community Lodgings, get here early! It’s here that you’ll have a chance to chat with the amazing staff and prepare for your day!
Educate yourself on the organization’s mission
One of the highlights of my experience this summer was attending an Open Doors Tour. Community Lodgings’ wonderful Development Director, and my supervisor, Jasmin Witcher hosts bi-monthly tours of their mission. Why a tour of their mission and not of their facilities? First of all, because their facilities are often people’s homes, but second of all, so that incoming donors, volunteers, and community members can learn about their services. This tour was comprehensive, interactive and very informative not just about the services Community Lodgings provides- but their purpose in providing those services.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Something else I learned during my time at Community Lodgings was to be curious! As a brand-new, totally green intern I had no idea how to write a grant or how to craft the other documents my supervisor requested- and that was ok! Asking questions opened up an opportunity to learn and refine new skills.
Take feedback graciously
Editing is a large part of the grant writing process, and at first it was hard for me to comprehend how much needed to change on one document! But I quickly learned that feedback from my supervisors was a form of love, as they want my writing to grow as I progress in my career. If someone didn’t care, they wouldn’t spend the time working with you to help you improve. That was definitely not the case here as Community Lodgings staff spent large parts of their day helping me to come up with the best possible product.
Get to know the staff
My experience in D.C. this summer was truly shaped by the Community Lodgings staff. They truly care about the people they serve, and they really cared about me and my personal learning. Everyone in the office was so friendly, encouraging and supportive- I couldn’t have made it through this summer without them!
Seize every opportunity to grow
Every day is a new opportunity to learn something new! I was fortunate that Jasmin allowed me to help with a variety of tasks, so I could experience as much as possible during my time. I greatly appreciate that. Besides my primary task of applying for grants, I helped make Thank You letters, graphics, marketing materials, reports on volunteer and donor data, and even helped out with the programs I was writing to fund!
Through all of this experience, I learned so much about the inner workings of a non-profit and about my personal and professional goals. Thank you to everyone at Community Lodgings for allowing me to peek in at all of the amazing work you do to touch the lives of local children and families!