The organization that I’m interning at is a nonprofit organization called Friendship Place. Friendship Place assists the homeless or those who are at risk of homelessness. There are multiple locations and each has a designated responsibility. Their Welcome Center hands out items such as socks, underwear, used clothing, and hygiene items. They also provide water and small breakfast items such as cereal, peanut butter, and bread. People can also shower and do their laundry at the Welcome Center. There are case workers at the Welcome Center who help with referrals used to find housing, job training and other resources. There is also a Physician and a Psychiatrist that volunteer their time to help those in need. All services are provided free of charge and there are no strict requirements to participate. If a person is willing and able to do what’s needed the services are available through a variety of programs. There’s a veteran’s program that helps with rapid housing and a program called AimHire. The AimHire program is at a different location (down the hall from my location) and provides job assistance to include resume writing and a computer lab to help with finding employment.
I’m in an office building, about four blocks away from the Welcome Center. My role as an intern at Friendship Place is Fundraising and Development. The person that I’m working with directly is an Army Reservist so he is spending a lot of time out of the office. I am responsible for researching information, writing grant proposals, event planning and assisting at fundraising events. Since starting with Friendship Place I’ve written one grant proposal that I will be submitting to the MAXIMUS Foundation. I am also currently in the process of researching private schools in D.C. and the surrounding area. Each November Friendship Place organizes a walk around the National Mall as a fundraiser and I’m responsible for finding the contact information for the private schools so that we can begin sending them information by email and telephone. I will also be helping with finding a rooftop bar/restaurant where we can hold a company gathering for all the employees.
Thursday the organization was going to make a big announcement but due to the James Comey testimony it was difficult getting media coverage so the event was postponed. I was sent down to the Welcome Center for an hour in case anyone happened to stop by. I had to explain to one reporter, a board member and a Congresswoman that the event was postponed and would be rescheduled for a later date (it went better than expected). This past Sunday Friendship Place held a fundraising concert at the French Embassy. I helped with the setup, organizing the snacks, handed out drinks and helped cleanup afterwards. I was there for four hours but we were so busy that time flew by quickly.
Since my last post I learned that writing a grant proposal is similar to writing a paper for a college course. It took me about two days to research all the programs that Friendship Place offers. I also had to speak to two employees to get more information about the organization. After answering all the prompts for the grant, the person I’m working with approved my proposal. I also learned that finding the contact information and all the private schools in the area is more difficult than expected. There aren’t lists of private schools that I have been able to find so I have to use Google for my search. I was also able to provide information to three people who happened to stop by the Welcome Center when I was there on Thursday. Had I not researched the organization and everything they do beforehand I wouldn’t have been able to give them accurate information. Most importantly, I learned that communication is key. Being able to communicate with my coworkers about different aspects of the organization, explaining why the event was postponed and answering questions for those interested in the services offered by Friendship Place were only possible with good communication skills.