Light from Light hosted its first-ever student interns during May and June of 2020. An internship program was something that Light from Light staff knew would be mutually beneficial for both the organization and for the participating students. This was an exciting step for the nonprofit. Below is a first-hand account from one of Light from Light’s interns, Julia Grady:
Our intern team hard at work assembling race packets for the 2020 Virtual Hope for Haiti 5K!
My name is Julia Grady, and I had the opportunity to serve as one of the communications interns on the Light from Light team. I am a rising senior at the University of Georgia double majoring in Public Relations and Spanish with a certificate in Global Education and Leadership.
Light from Light is a nonprofit that invests in Haitian leaders who are providing healthcare for the poorest country per capita in the Western Hemisphere. By working to nourish children, provide access to healthcare for the most marginalized, and prioritize women, Light from Light was a fulfilling mission to be part of for my summer internship.
In early March, my summer plans included a finance internship in Washington, D.C. and a marketing internship in Barcelona. I had imagined my office space for the summer to be a mix of the D.C. cherry blossoms and Gaudí’s Park Güell; therefore, working remotely… for my sister (who serves as Light from Light’s Executive Director) at the desk in my childhood bedroom initially felt like a disappointment. Although I knew that my situation during the pandemic was, in fact, lucky and blessed, I couldn’t help but feel slighted by the change in plans that I had so meticulously mapped out moths earlier.
What I didn’t know during my mid-March slump, was how perfectly everything was coming together to make this one of the most meaningful summers of my life. After our first meeting on May 6, the team got to meet one another. Alongside me, Jesse Baynes was to work as a communications intern, specializing in film. She is a rising senior at the University of Georgia double majoring in Entertainment and Media Studies. Our third member, Emme Maner, is a rising junior at the University of Georgia majoring in Public Relations.
Emme Maner pictured above
Right away Elaine Wright, Director of Development, and Hannah made the three of us feel comfortable. They welcomed us into the culture of both the state-side not-for-profit and into daily life in Haiti (even though we had to cancel the two weeks of the internship initially scheduled to take place in Port-au-Prince). We joined the team’s weekly staff meetings and assumed project-based work on everything from brochures, to the Hope for Haiti (Virtual) 5K, to Haiti at Home, to promotional films, to donor relation emails.
We were given the support we needed, balanced with the freedom and autonomy necessary to make projects feel like our own.
Julia Grady pictured above
Watching the 5K come together over the course of a few months was extremely gratifying. On race day, I watched over 100 “stories” pour in over Instagram. Everyone was wearing the shirts we ordered, matched up to the registrants, and either mailed or hand delivered. Everyone knew to tag us and how to submit photos because of a half sheet that I’d designed, printed and included in the race packets. It was a very full-circle moment for my summer. And, on top of that, it was the most lucrative and highly “attended” 5K in Light from Light history.
All of the proceeds, of course, benefitted the work being done at the Lespwa Timoun Clinic in Haiti. At a moment of such precarious international health, this was not something we took lightly.
In addition to the work, Hannah organized learning opportunities for us. We engaged in:
Through the internship, we gained new hard- and soft-skills. We now know how to do a mail merge and work with excel; write a press releases and pitch it; acquire sponsors; organize logistics and execute plans that include many moving pieces.
We experienced a summer of growth and perseverance. Light from Light staff constructed a program for the three interns that allowed for both learning and friendship.
Jesse Baynes pictured above
What’s more, though, we’ll have one another as professional peers and mentors going forward. Light from Light hopes to continue the internship program in the fall with a new set of students who are eager to practice skills acquired in the classroom in a real-world setting for a high impact.
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