Fundraisers, research, and birthdays…A day in the life of a nonprofit

Olivia Doty, Carlisle Area High School

Olivia Doty, Carlisle Area High School

Intern, Nonprofit Exploration Program

In the spring of my junior year, I learned about a new internship that the Carlisle Chamber was bringing to my school. It sparked my attention and I talked with my internship counselor about it and I decided to sign up. I was really excited because this was not a regular, standard internship like what I was accustomed to. It was a  Nonprofit Career Exploration internship. Basically, over the course of six weeks, I would be able to intern at six local nonprofits in my community and learn what they do and how they impact the community. After filling out lots of paperwork, I was informed that I got the internship! I was thrilled.

My official first day started on September 7th at the Carlisle Arts and Learning Center (CALC). At CALC, we learned about all the different programs, fundraisers, and classes that they provide for the community. We toured the beautiful building, met the staff, and talked about what everyone does on a normal day. It was really cool to learn about CALC’s biggest fundraiser, m-ART-ini night which was taking place later that month.

After CALC, we went to intern at the LEAF farm in Perry County. Unfortunately I had a really bad cold this week and I was only able to go the first day. However, with my small amount of time I spent there, I learned so much about how they run as a nonprofit. They also were gearing up for their big fundraiser, Savor2021, which was happening the weekend after the week we were there. It was also fun to help them bag produce for their customers and be a part of the really positive dynamic at the farm.

Our next adventure took place at the Bosler Memorial Library. The library was the biggest nonprofit we saw with the most amount of staff, which I was very surprised by. I live right across the street from Bosler and I had no idea that they had so many people and volunteers working for them! On the first day we met the staff, toured the library, and learned about how they manage their money. Throughout the rest of the week, we helped sort through books donated by community members, scan the shelves for misplaced books, and we got to design posters and bookmarks for events they were holding. I really enjoyed designing the posters since we used Canva, a design software, that was super fun to work with.

Next, we ventured a few blocks over to the Employment Skills Center. Here we discussed how they fundraise, what each individual staff member does, and overall, how they contribute to the community as a nonprofit. My most favorite part was when we sat in on the ESL class and assisted students with their work. The environment of the class was positive and upbeat and it was neat to see how the teacher worked with students of all different language backgrounds.

After that we went to the United Way, but unfortunately we were only there for one day due to scheduling conflicts. I think the school is working on rescheduling that week so we will get to do more! For the short time we were there we learned about what specific things the United Way does and how they work as a nonprofit nationally. It was really interesting to hear about how they were founded and what led to the United Way’s creation. We had many in-depth discussions about the people they serve and what they are trying to do for them since there are many difficult challenges those people face everyday.

And last but not least, we finished off at Maranatha-Carlisle. I am so happy this was the one we ended with since it brought everything together full circle. On the first day we talked about the general aspects of Maranatha-Carlisle. Personally, I had never heard of the organization  before signing up for the internship. But, I am so glad I know what it is now since they are such an important nonprofit and the work that they do is really amazing and eye-opening. I learned about the different kinds of people Maranatha-Carlisle serves and how they work with them to pay their bills. We also covered the history of Maranatha and met with Joan Jones who started everything! I loved talking with her to hear her experience and what caused her to decide to create a nonprofit. The next day I took some time to research and find data from recent ALICE reports which the staff uses for grants and to better understand the clients they serve.

Overall I really enjoyed talking with the staff here since they all do their job for the good of the people. They care about Carlisle and they want to do their best to help community members in any way they can! I am so glad I was able to meet everyone and experience what it’s like to be a part of Maranatha-Carlisle. It was such a wonderful experience and to top things off, we finished the week with a birthday celebration for Michael, Maranatha-Carlisle’s executive director.