More than Making Coffee:  A Word on Summer Internships

More than Making Coffee: A Word on Summer Internships

Earlier this summer I was approached by a student, who I had worked with in the past, looking for volunteer opportunities during her summer break. She was hoping to learn about the world of nonprofits and public policy to aid in her studies and possible upcoming internships. I explained that the mission of GLCYD is to provide “youth-serving and nonprofit organizations with expertise, training and learning opportunities so that all youth can thrive in healthy communities across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.” It seemed that her educational interests and my work corresponded perfectly. The answer to her question of “what should I do this summer?” became clear. She should take on an internship with our organization.

Internships can be a great way for an organization to receive some much needed help and assist young adults along their path to a successful future. This certainly seems like a win-win especially for youth-serving groups. If your organization is thinking about taking on interns there are many things to seriously consider. It is important to do your research regarding: legalities, time availability and goals before you decide it is a viable concept.

A few tips on working with interns:
• Does the shoe fit? Find out what your intern wants to do later on. Decide if your mission and daily tasks will provide them with the skills necessary for what they want to pursue.
• It’s the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. Decide what tasks you expect them to carry out and provide them with a job description. Take into consideration what they are hoping to learn and try to accommodate that.
• Join the Club! Include them in Staff meetings so they can learn how your organization works and the employee dynamic. Also, bringing them along to other important activities will give them a sense of how to dress, act and respond in these types of settings.
• More than making coffee: When assigning duties include significant tasks; maybe working on a special project. This will help them to feel important and get more out of their experience.

So, let me introduce you to our newest intern Olivia Toretta!

Oliva's picture
Olivia is a 2013 graduate of North Dickinson High School and is currently attending Michigan State University. There she is majoring in Interdisciplinary studies in social sciences with a concentration in community governance and advocacy, along with an additional major in political science.

She was interested in a summer internship with GLCYD because she wants to learn more about the business and legal side of nonprofit organizations. She is considering going to law school after graduation.

Throughout the summer, Olivia will be involved in the planning of the U.P. Nonprofit Conference and preparation for the Developmental Asset survey in Dickinson-Iron Counties.

Olivia likes Chicago sports including the Bears, Cubs and Blackhawks. In her free time she plays bass guitar and ukulele and enjoys collecting vinyl records. Welcome aboard, Olivia!

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