Name: Chris Harried
Internship, Co-op or Research Site: AmeriCorps State & National
Location of the Organization (City, State): Philadelphia PA, Atlanta GA
Major(s)/Minor(s): Political Science
Expected Graduation Date (Month & Year): 2016
Briefly describe your internship, co-op, research, or service- learning opportunity, including your day-to-day tasks, responsibilities, and assignments.
This summer, I served as an AmeriCorps Community Service Fellow with HOPE worldwide, an international non-profit organization. As a member of the inaugural cohort of the CSF program, the structure of the internship experience was not only new for the participants, but also those who helped coordinate the program.
The overall structure of the CSF program focuses on preparing individuals to have the necessary skills to be a valuable asset in the non-profit/non-governmental organization sector. This objective is accomplished through a rigorous but highly rewarding schedule compiled with a 2 ½ weeks training period and a 4 week guided service learning experience. During the 2 week training period, I completed day classes in the area of nonprofit leadership and management at Eastern University. The first portion of my 4 week service period consisted of me serving as a camp counselor for diverse population of youth from across the Eastern United States. The second portion of my guided service experience (called “HOPE Youth Corps”) focused on me working with a group of inner-city youth in Northwest Atlanta.
On a daily basis, my essential responsibilities included:
-Provide instruction using Peacemakers Curriculum
-Facilitate instruction using the Environmental Education Curriculum.
-Plan and implement volunteer events and activities at assigned HOPE Youth Corps Site or summer camp
-Serve as a counselor, facilitator and mentor at summer camp programs
Some of my other responsibilities included:
Organize and Participate in Community Service Activities
Coordinate Functions of HOPE Youth Corps site and/or Youth Camps
Conduct fundraising activities for HOPE Youth Corps
Support functions for the summer programs such as a rotation food or site preparation schedule for the youth and organizing cleaning parties with the youth.
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization/company?
I absolutely enjoyed working as a mentor to the different groups of young people that the program served and learning more about their life experiences.
What have you gained from your experience that you could not have gained from another opportunity?
I’ve learned more about what it means to be a leader and how to engage others in meaningful acts of service. I also gained hands-on experience in program coordination, event planning, and community service engagement. I was fortunate enough to learn more about the importance of humility and what it means to lead others by serving them. HOPE worldwide is a respected and recognized non-profit organization that has helped meet the needs of millions of the world’s most destitute citizens. Their staff and systemic approach to identifying and addressing needs are valuable assets that have helped me to expand my worldview and enhance my problem-solving abilities.
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
Internships are an invaluable source of real world experience that allots one the chance to explore different career options while still being in school. The Shriver Center at UMBC provides a diverse and engaging portfolio of internship opportunities. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and possess a vast array of resources to help move students forward in the college career.
How do you see your experience as meaningful? This might involve skills you’ve gained, information you’ve learned, mentors you’ve connected with, or projects you’ve completed.
Being selected to serve this summer as an AmeriCorps Community Service Fellow with HOPE worldwide has allocated me the opportunity to grow immensely in my character, my professionalism, and my overall attitude towards community service in general. As a facilitator of a conflict resolution curriculum, I personally gained a large assortment of tools that I can utilize in my interactions with others. Although I was assigned to be a leader and was expected to be a resource to the individuals I worked with, I felt that our relationship was mutualistic, with me learning as much from them as I hoped they were able to learn from me.
Please provide a short quote about what you liked most about your position / earning internship credit / the internship placement process / the Shriver Center:
I am so glad that the Shriver Center staff worked with me to help me earn credit for the time I served on AmeriCorps.