When I was approached to write about my experience interning at the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, I could not think of what to write. It’s just that during my time with the Parks Alliance, I have already experienced so much and it’s only halfway over.
It’s actually rather bizarre how I got the internship in the first place. I knew that for my second year of grad school, I wanted to get an internship so as to make a smooth transition into the working world. After all, I’m still coming off from years of working at H&M and Starbucks, so I figured I could use the help. Little did I know that I would be finding such extreme value in an unpaid internship.
At the time I was applying for internships, I had just completed the SJU Grant Writing course taught by the very wise Maureen Saraco. It was the end of summer session II and I spoke to Tenaya Darlington about my interest in grant writing for nonprofits. And then, our lovely director forwarded me to the Parks Alliance intern request with the short message of:
Here’s a nonprofit that is seeking an intern…
So, I applied for the internship, went in for the interview, and received an offer later that very same day. I was elated. And after my first week of being at the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, I knew it was a perfect fit.
It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you know an internship is a perfect fit. Often it feels, particularly as writers, that limits do not exist on the amount of internship possibilities, leading you in very different directions. Having taken so many courses in the Writing Studies program covering numerous areas of the writing world, they all can seem like perfect fits.
Before taking the Writing Studies’ Grant Writing course, I had only a vague sense of what grant writing entailed. It was only after the course that I realized that grant writing utilizes the power of narrative to fund the cause of whatever nonprofit you work for. It also helps if the writer is passionate and actually cares about the cause. Lucky for me, the Parks Alliance exists to serve Philadelphia’s public spaces because they see the power of having spaces with no barriers to entry– something I also believe in.
During my time at the Parks Alliance, I have not only written successful grants, but I have been further opened up to new realms. Primarily, I have learned the world of Development, the umbrella of grant writing and how nonprofits find funding. I have also gained a plethora of experience in social media management, massive event planning, organizing a donor phone bank, and engaging in community outreach.
I have absolutely loved my time at the Philadelphia Parks Alliance and can not wait to continue. Through this experience, I have already learned that if you have the valuable opportunity to take an unpaid internship, take it. It could very well be a perfect fit.