By Chloe Scheid
My name is Chloe and I am a junior at the University of Oregon working on my Bachelor of Arts. I am majoring in psychology and minoring in nonprofit administration. These interests led me to apply for an internship with ShelterCare. When I imagined what my future career might look like, I saw myself working at a nonprofit that increases access to mental health care. I really admired how ShelterCare contributes to this mission and brings safety and housing to those that need it most. I have spent the last 10 weeks interning with the Development department which is a small but mighty department responsible for all things fundraising as well an array of other projects. Development is what makes nonprofits run and I was thrilled to be a part of that.
Much of the work I get to do is the little details; but the little details are exactly what makes ShelterCare special. Every day is different. Some days I’m volunteering at the Run For Your Life zombie themed 5k and some days I’m addressing envelopes to express our gratitude to our donors. No task is insignificant to me.
However, some of the most rewarding work I’ve gotten to do is the big stuff. One of my favorite projects was helping to research and order items to make move-in kits for individuals and families moving into housing. I knew that everything I chose was an item that would become part of someone’s household and I knew how much that would mean to the people receiving it. After a spreadsheet of items was ordered, our office was soon filled to the brim with boxes not to mention the back of my car when I went to retrieve pick up orders (side note: certain retail locations get very confused when you pick up 14 toilet plungers!). Helping people on their journey to housing in this way really made me feel like I was making an impact in their lives.
Another great project I got to be involved in was grant writing. I had taken one grant writing class at school but hadn’t yet gotten to use those skills in real life. It was incredibly valuable to be able to use those skills and build on them as I got feedback. I was able to work on a lot of practical writing skills that will help me in my future career. I also wrote a radio ad, many outreach emails, and several social media posts all of which I got feedback and edits on to improve my skills.
I was also able to connect with other staff members at ShelterCare and people from other nonprofits that gave me advice for my education and career that I would have never been able to get otherwise. This experience empowered me with knowledge and information about working in nonprofits as well as strengthened my skills and prepared me for a future career. I am so glad that I chose to apply at ShelterCare and that I was given the opportunity to help with so many diverse projects. I will take all of these skills and experiences with me through my education and career and ShelterCare will always have a place in my heart.