Friday, August 8, 2014

My Experience as a Red Cross Summer Intern

by Emily Seyle

Having a passion for human rights, I was drawn to the idea of an internship with the Youth Services department at the American Red Cross Greater NY Region. As a senior pursuing a dual degree in economics and human rights at UConn, I have been learning about the amazing work of the American Red Cross for as long as I can remember.

Despite my relevant coursework however, I was truly naïve about the level of commitment by both staff and volunteers. Within minutes of walking through the door on my first day, it immediately became clear that the love for the work of the Red Cross runs deep throughout the region and organization as a whole.

Many of my responsibilities consisted of developing methods to engage students throughout the region as they are an integral part of present and future Red Cross efforts. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work with student volunteers; it helped me understand the strength of the Red Cross. The accomplishments of these students is incredible. I felt inspired that the Red Cross works to not only inspire but to also empower its volunteers of all ages. A student once told me that volunteering for the Red Cross created opportunities they had never thought possible. As I write this post on my last day as a Youth Services Intern, I believe this same statement to be true for me as well.

The greatest impact this internship had on me was a result of my amazing supervisors, Amanda Crabbe and Trent Shafer. Amanda and Trent trusted me to take on projects and make them my own. I loved that I was constantly challenged to explore new avenues for completing tasks that served to mature my skillsets. Being able to contribute and develop my ideas without fear of rejection was the most important part of my internship because it allowed me to gain real work experience.

I am extremely fortunate to be able to say that my time as Communications and Social Media Intern for Youth Services is by far the best work experience I’ve ever had. As I go on to complete my final semester (and thus begin the daunting search for a career), I know that my internship with the American Red Cross provided me not only with invaluable skills and work experience but also a new place to call home. 


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