Students reflect on meaningful internships with local nonprofits

As part of the University’s Helping Hands initiative, several students had the opportunity to explore what a career in the nonprofit field might look like while developing important skills and connections within the community. local community.

September 2, 2022

By Christian Rosario ’24 and Adrielys Gomez ’22, ’23 MBA

Christian Rosario ’24 (left) and Adrielys Gomez ’22, ’23 MBA have completed internships with local nonprofits.

The Helping Hands Initiative, a program that connects the University with local nonprofit organizations and corporate philanthropy, provides underrepresented students with practical opportunities to explore nonprofit leadership roles. Created by Marcus Paca, MBA, associate director of employer relations for the University’s Career Development Center, it’s a collaboration between the University, Wells Fargo and nearly a dozen regional organizations non-profit.

The program aims to create opportunities for students to learn about the important work of nonprofit organizations and the impact of community engagement while developing leadership skills. It also offers students the opportunity to participate in paid summer internships, subsidized by Wells Fargo. Students including Christian Rosario ’24 and Adrielys Gomez ’22, ’23 MBA, have completed internships with local nonprofits over the summer.

Lou Perno, executive director of Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven, worked with Rosario this summer.

“It was a great opportunity to be part of the Helping Hands initiative,” he said. “I was really impressed from the start with the way the project was launched, the information provided by the program staff and everything that was done to enable agencies to involve the students.

“Chris, our intern, did an outstanding job and was an amazing member of our team,” continued Perno. “He has contributed new marketing strategies for promotional materials and engaged new partners for Literacy Volunteers to recruit adult students into various basic needs programs requiring literacy services. He spearheaded the work with these agencies which will become an ongoing initiative and opportunity to seek funding for a new position, as well as interns from other sources to carry out the duties he has carried out.

Below, Rosario and Gomez reflect on their internship experiences this summer.

Christian Rosario ’24, Greater New Haven Literacy Volunteers

I started participating in the Helping Hands Initiative program after a peer of mine gave me a flyer and told me it would be a great opportunity for me. After that, we attended a networking event where I met Lou Perno from Literacy Volunteers. We discussed ways in which I could help his non-profit organization. Throughout my internship, I took on a variety of tasks, providing me with a rich internship experience, which I appreciated.

Christian Rosario '24 (right) at Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven.
Christian Rosario ’24 (right) at Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven.

I did many tasks at Literacy Volunteers, including redesigning flyers and ad cards to reach a wider audience, designing a new retractable banner to hold events, and raising awareness in soup kitchens and libraries to recruit students and tutors. As a result, Literacy Volunteers has strengthened its relationships with other nonprofit organizations, expanding its reach in the community and attracting more students who can be served.

One of the highlights of my internship is the role I played in the rebranding effort to promote more in-demand services in a post-COVID era. This will help literacy volunteers serve clients with more pressing issues, such as obtaining a driver’s license or preparing for the job market.

The internship at Literacy Volunteers has helped me personally and professionally in that I have improved my communication skills, created marketing content that I can show to future employers and has given me a better understanding of how a organization, including the many facets that make it work.

Prior to this internship, I had never considered working in a non-profit organization in any capacity other than volunteering. However, after completing this internship, I gained new knowledge. I would be open to helping nonprofits with the business side of things, including marketing, communications, and creating strategic plans to improve the organization.

Adrielys Gomez '22, '23 MBA.
Adrielys Gomez ’22, ’23 MBA.
Adrielys Gomez ’22, ’23 MBA, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services

I got involved in the Helping Hands initiative through Marcus Paca from the Career Development Center. I was at the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion when he walked in with flyers and told students at the Center about the importance of nonprofit work and how an internship can benefit us. From then on, I applied and encouraged my peers to do the same.

My summer internship with Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), specifically as a data analyst for the SUN (Services for Undocumented Neighbors) team, was life changing. I have always been involved and interested in community work, and through this internship, I was able to use my data skills to help case managers showcase their impact on the community.

I spent much of my time cleaning up and presenting data in the form of graphs and visual representations, such as the demographics of clients served and those who still need more service. The other part has included helping out at events such as legal clinics or SUN Resource Days. These one-day events allow clients to come in for services, talk to lawyers, and receive goody bags full of toiletries and toys. I was able to not only use my skills, but also work face to face with clients in need of resources.

My background has allowed me to not only use my data skills, but also my love for community work to make a difference. While I look forward to starting my career, I now have a passion for community work and will continue to dedicate my time to volunteering with non-profit organizations such as IRIS and New Haven Reads. The people I met, both staff and clients, impacted me and my thoughts on what my career path will look like.

Christian Rosario ’24, a marketing major at the University pursuing a minor in finance, interned with Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven. Adrielys Gomez ’22, ’23 MBA, a candidate in the University’s MBA program and a recent graduate in economics, did an internship at Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services.

Comments are closed.