What has been a challenge you have faced in the Summer Service Scholar program so far? What has been a highlight?
Reflections from Changemakers
During the Summer Scholars program, I’ve be able to understand the dynamics and daily workings of Unity House far better than I had before, by engaging actively and going out of my way to involve myself. Because I have experience with Unity House prior to this summer, I’ve had an advantage coming back into a familiar organization, though I now have more responsibility and am trusted with greater tasks. A highlight, as a result of my participation at Unity House, is that I’ve found myself valuable to clients and employees alike and that I no longer need to rely on other workers to constantly give me guidance. This independence has allowed me to have a more profound understanding of how many local organizations, local laws, company policies, and individual people interplay in their daily work and how complex the intersectionality of it is. However, on the other hand, a challenge has been finding meaningful, sustainable work within the organization, where I feel like I’m really helping the clients or the employees. Throughout the summer, I am setting up a research project with Unity House for the fall, but not only is it incredibly difficult to get a hold of the people I need to, due to their unbelievably hectic schedules, it’s also hard to find the experience within the organization to make me the best and most qualified person to conduct this research. In essence, my primary role at my site is to best understand what kind of research Unity House and their clients would most benefit from and want, if the research is to be authentically community-based. Due to the minutiae of confidentiality and the necessary boundaries between intern/employee and client, trying to understand their research needs is proving to be rather difficult, until I can finally sit down with one of my superiors.
I think one of the biggest challenges for me has been living in a new community for two months. I felt like I didn’t know anyone or anything when I first came to New York and thus couldn’t actively assist, but the more I worked with Troy Prep, the more I felt like I belong and am a positive addition. I enjoy Troy Prep because my job there is important for the operations of the school, and the community there is fantastic. I also feel as though the projects I am working on directly reflect and relate to my school studies. I can use these completed projects, such as designing marketing materials, organizing summer work, and creating Excel spreadsheets, as experience for a future job. Furthermore, I am leading operations for the Summer Academy, and the job I do will help future interns working at Troy Prep. It is important for the school: accurate and clear meal counts and milk orders get reimbursed by the government, which allows more money in the budget for other necessary areas. I also will be organizing dismissal, which will be helpful in gaining meaningful professional relationships with other companies, like Durham, the bus company. I am excited to see how these professional development opportunities assist in future professional settings. I also feel as though I gel well with the people I work with, and it has helped me gain a better understanding of the community of Troy. I spend most of my time in Troy, and honestly, it has been the highlight of the summer compared to everywhere else I have visited in New York State. It’s a great city, with a wonderful community, and I am glad to be able to be a part of it for a summer.
In the first several weeks of this program I have experienced some ups and downs. I always try to find the positive in all the work I am given by saying that I am helping those above me focus on their priorities by doing their grunt work. Although at times it is frustrating, when I am finished I am always proud of my work, which brings me joy. I am learning new things that although won’t apply to my career or life in any way, I am still getting educated in areas such as Human Resources, Spread Sheets, and Inventory. Those that work at the BGCA are all incredible people so I enjoy my time there so much! I have truly seen how great of an area Albany is! Besides the challenges I face of sometimes doing work that isn’t meaningful to me, I overcome that by drinking coffee and being surrounded by a good bunch as well as a positive and upbeat attitude. I am super excited to start working on projects that can be put towards my career and college degree. Some highlights of my time in this program so far would have to be working with these kids and seeing the impact that is left on them. They are some incredible little humans that can turn my day from gloomy to full of sunshine in a matter of seconds. The friends I have also made in this program have the same affect. Having the ability to explore, enjoy, and work has been a blessing for my time in Albany and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks brings.
My experience as a Summer Service Scholar has been both incredibly rewarding and challenging. My role has changed slightly over the course of the internship. When I first started, I was just a Community Policy Institute (CPI) Fellow. Over time, I have gotten more involved with the NExT consulting team. I think that this has been the highlight of my internship experience so far. I am gaining lots of new skills and real-world experience in multiple areas: policy research and non-profit consulting. With CPI, our community partner is the Food Bank Association. We are researching the impact of the proposed Farm Bill on their work. This has probably posed the biggest challenges for me so far. First, we started doing general research on the Farm Bill. To me at least, a lot of the ins and outs of agricultural policy were somewhat dry. Thus, the first challenge was staying focused and motivated. Then, the whole project was shifted, when we found out that the community partner wanted more in-depth and data-driven analysis than we were anticipating. Furthermore, the community partner also needed the report a month before we thought that they did. This posed a whole new set of challenges. Mostly, I did not know how to do the analysis that the community partner was asking for. Figuring out how to do this kind of analysis was a large, difficult, and seemingly impossible task. I am very proud that I was able to come up with a viable way to carry out the analysis that the community partner was looking for. This whole process greatly developed my problem-solving, research, and data skills. I even learned a little bit of how to use a statistical analysis software, which was not something I anticipated learning this summer. All in all, while this summer has not been what I expected it to be, I am enjoying it very much, and look forward to whatever comes next!
I have not faced any challenges really during the summer program so far. I have been having some health complications for some months now and my supervisor is very understanding about it and is helping me make a plan so that I am able to stay on top of my hours. I enjoy being here and missed it a lot. The summer vibe is the best vibe at the Residence because I am able to put all my focus and attention on my projects and not have to be worried about school and class assignments. I can’ t wait to see how things flow from summer into fall and the growth and success this organization and myself will have. Definitely looking forward to the youth coming as well and just being back in a community that has had my heart since I moved here. I’m happy that I am able to still give back even when school is out.
My time as a Summer Service Scholar this summer is proving to be a great learning experience. I was fortunate enough to be able to jump right in to working with the kids involved in the Boys and Girls Club after school program on site. It has been really great to get to know each of the kids and learn a little more about the community through their eyes and unique perspectives. The other staff have been very welcoming, both in the program and the office staff, and have made an effort to make me feel included while also getting to know me. One of the biggest challenges of the work that I have done so far this summer is not having many projects to do or doing tasks such as paperwork, HR work, and inventory. These tasks do not always require thinking and can be very boring when doing them for long periods of time. However, while it is not the most interesting work it has helped me to understand that having a job one day is going to require me to do some of these tasks and frequently, doing more rewarding work can only happen once paperwork and other menial stuff around the office is completed. Furthermore, I am also very excited because with the end of after school program yesterday, it is now time to start prepping for summer camp. I will get to participate in programming for the actual camp and then when camp actually begins I will get to be a YDP for a group, facilitate arts and crafts activities, and facilitate sporting events for the campers. This is the work that I am most looking forward to doing this summer but I am happy that I had the opportunity to do some different kinds of work before I jump into my role as the Summer YDP at Lawson’s Lake.
A challenge I have faced in the program has been determining with what my projects will be. When I was first welcomed to the YWCA-GCR my supervisor and other staff were very busy with site visits, so I was unable to fully learn about my position and what it would entail. It was essentially up to my supervisor and I to brainstorm what I would be doing. In order to effectively brainstorm I thought that I had to get a feel of YWCA and what I could potentially add to the community. Brainstorming was difficult and I often reached out to staff and other interns for support. After a week or two, my supervisor and I sat down to go over some ideas I had come up with and we were able to narrow down my current projects. My computer class and a check-list on how to go about caring for the aging population are two projects that I have been working on consistently for the last couple of weeks. I am now working on how to improve my computer class and researching resources for the elderly. Overcoming my challenge has been a highlight of its own, but another highlight is the nice and supportive people working and living at the YWCA. I always feel like I am a part of the YWCA community when I walk into the building every morning and I notice that many of the residents and staff feel the same way. The YWCA has a talent of making every individual feel like they belong and are supported by those around them. One of my favorite things is our morning check-ins and it is something the staff does to go over some of the tasks we will be completing on that day and some concerns we may have. I find that check-in is sometimes a fun way to mix, mingle and catch up with staff I do not get to see every day.
Throughout my time as a Summer Service Scholars I have experienced both rewards and challenges. One of the greatest challenges that I have experienced would be doing desk/ office work. I am used to doing direct hands on service and interacting with people, so doing Powerpoints and working with Excel is a different experience. Although this work may not be the most interesting it is helping me develop skills that will be necessary for my career and in the future. Another challenged that I have faced in the summer program so far is being away from home and missing my mom. Additionally adapting to change and living in a new area so far from home has been a slight challenge. One of the highlights of the Siena Summer Scholars Program so far has been being able to come into a new community and develop a program that will continue long after my time here ends. It has also been great to immerse myself into the culture of the community. Another highlight of the program is being able to serve in such a diverse area/ community that has so many resources and programs. It has been great to see the many services and programs that already exist in the area. Overall my time here has been very informative and I am looking forward to seeing what my last month here has in store for me. I am excited to begin the workforce development program with teens when the summer camp begins.
One thing that has been very surprising since I started the program, has been the overwhelming amount of support I have received. Either from the program, the other scholars, my fellow intern, and the staff here at YWCA of the Greater Capital Region. I have been facing a lot of personal challenges and it has been hard not having my usual support system since I am a far way from home. However, the people around me have really been holding it down and keeping my grounded. I appreciate all the support and guidance I have gotten during this time since I am living in a very different area. Aside from that, I believe I have grown a lot professionally and have learned a lot about myself. Being away from home and DePauw has pushed me to discover a lot of things about myself and it has made me excited for what is ahead. YWCA has also put a lot of projects on my plate to get done and although some things are new to me, I think that all of their projects for me are exciting and are teaching me new things.
On the other hand, there have been some challenges in my internship. There are quite a bit of projects they want us to work on. One of the being a Spa Night for the residents. It has been very challenging trying to set this up and follow through with it. We are trying to partner with other organizations, however, it has been difficult to secure a time and date that works for everyone. We have attempted to connect with multiple organizations and every time there seems to be a problem that they fall through. So it has been frustrating trying to set up a successful for our sponsors. I have to also do work through InDesign and that has been a definite challenge. It is difficult to understand a program I do not have experience with. However, my boss has been very patient with me and teaching me tips and tricks.
I think this question is a little hard to answer, simply because 15-Love’s summer program has not officially started yet. Next week Tuesday, we will start our summer literacy program as well as our gardening and healthy living program. I have always found interacting with a large group of people (even children) to be a challenge so I am nervous for that. However, I don’t doubt that I will be able to get through it successfully as well as learn to have more confidence as I have done tasks at 15-Love and interacted with my work in a way I never thought possible. Even small tasks such as conducting business over the phone use to make me anxious, but now I do it with ease. I am better able to do things like problem solving as well (not in a drastic way) that show me to small growth within myself, even if no one else notices it. A lot of my challenges within the program, however, have been personal.
I have to say though, that all the positive changes I have made, may not have come to fruition without an environment like 15-Love. While tough circumstances can be a good teacher, I have found that it was easier for me to grow in an environment like 15-Love. The ability I had to think on my feet or to answer the phones, was because I didn’t feel pressured to measure up to someone else or feel strong competition. No matter what level anyone is in the office, we all work together to get work done; no one is caught up in their title.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in the Summer Service Scholar program is staying on task and interested in the project I’ve been assigned. Communication with the partner has been a little difficult in some cases which contributed to feelings of confusion. However, we were able to problem solve and come up with a plan on how to attack the project. It’s also been a little difficult to balance working as a part-time Summer Service Scholar and a part-time Summer Scholar. I’ve been feeling that I haven’t been able to give 100% to either position which is to be expected. I do feel, however, that I’m doing the best I can for both projects. A highlight of this program is the opportunity to meet new people and live away from home. Although I live on campus during the semester, this program is different because it has helped me become more independent because I am living without roommates and without a meal plan.
This summer I have faced many challenges, but also have had many rewarding experiences. One of the challenges that I dealt with was trying to focusing on one task at my site. There was so much going on at CMA that it was hard to know exactly what I should be doing and how to prioritize my work. Another challenge I faced was working on curriculum, especially for teenagers. I never have had to write curriculum before, and I was worried the whole time about keeping the kids engaged. It took me awhile to get the curriculum figured out and I felt like I wasn’t contributing to the rest of the tasks that needed to get done. Another challenge I encountered was how to interact with the kids. I tend to be super nice and that usually leads me to do everything for them. I have been trying to fix this by helping them with what they are doing when they ask, but being aware they are fully capable of doing most things by themselves. One of my highlights would have to be working with Crystal and Daly. They are both great individuals that have many experiences different from my own. It has been so beneficial to be around Crystal’s high energy, high enthusiasm personality. I have thoroughly enjoyed coming into CMA and having a new experience every time I walked through the door. Daly has been so much fun to work with. She comes from a different background than I do, so it has been interesting to hear her outlook on situations. I also have really enjoyed working with the kids. I was nervous to work with them at first, as some of them are close to my age, but they all are super fun to talk to. They are all passionate about something and when you can get them talking about it, it is really interesting to hear.
What has been a challenge you have faced in the Summer Service Scholar program so far? What has been a highlight?
One of the challenges I have faced was adjusting to doing indirect services. All the experience I have done with working with kids had been direct. Not having one on one contact with the teens did throw me off in the beginning. But now doing my research and working with the curriculum I have created, it changed my perspective of feeling like I am doing valuable work just as making the connections with teens. Another challenge I have faced was trying to get in contact with Old Navy to start the Onward program here. It has been very frustrating because the local Old Navy has been unprofessional with me. I had been trying to get in contact with them for a whole month. They never kept their word, they didn’t have good communications with their own staff. They even made a remark to me saying “Wow you’re what we called very persistent.” I knew that was not really what they meant. I highlight of mine was when I went to the Kendrick Lamar concert for free. I got to work the SPAC food concession stand and all the money allocated goes back to the club. It was so much fun, I was even gifted a fanny pack by a stranger. Another highlight of mine was when I did my test trial for my curriculum to the teens. All the teens were very respectful to me and engaged, they gave me so much positive feedback.
One challenge I have faced this summer has been the amount of work I have at my site. I sometimes feel as if I am given only busy work throughout the day. When I do work for my boss, there is a lot of extra reviewing from her and sometimes she forgets about it completely. She is extremely busy and constantly on the phone so I get how it is difficult to keep track of what I am doing and keep me busy, but it is sometimes frustrating. It is really only something I have noticed this week.I know my boss likes me and appreciates what I do but sometimes I am not really sure what my role is, etc. Something I need to work on is expressing this frustration to her, which is something I see myself doing in the next couple of days.
I do really like the organization, though. Despite my boss being extremely busy, whenever we have conversations, we are always on the same wavelength. Our brains definitely work in the same ways, so it is super neat to see what her style of leadership looks like, because it is a style of leadership I, for the most part, admire and will likely take from. Family Promise has also given me a different way to think about homelessness and how to work with each individual family to work out of homelessness.
The main challenge I faced this summer was doing work I knew was necessary, but found rather tedious and not as rewarding as hands on involvement. This has always been something I have not fully enjoyed, but as the summer has gone on I see the value to this work. Despite this one challenge, the experience as a whole has been extremely rewarding and transformative. The community outreach portion of my role has been the most exciting. I have been able to meet neighbors and other people from the community at events held both on site, as well as off site. In these conversations, I have learned much more about the rich history of Albany as well as the many opportunities to become involved in our local community.
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