Below is a post contributed by Chloe Kinsey, the Summer Development Intern from the Northwest Regional Office of Friends. Enjoy!
This last Sunday, the day of the Friends of the Orphans Northwest region’s Summer Family BBQ, was also the last day of my wonderful summer internship with Friends here in Bellevue. My co-intern Claire Baron and I are both heading into our junior year at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and both have an interest in continuing on in the nonprofit sector, a field into which our internship with Friends gave us great insight. One thing that is immediately apparent when working in a Friends office is how much everyone there is involved in the Friends and NPH community. Every person Claire and I met, whether employee, board member, or volunteer, was incredibly passionate about the mission of NPH and had an amazing commitment to Friends beyond their work or volunteer duties. Friends employees are donors and sponsors themselves, have visited NPH homes, and some are even former international volunteers. Their passion for Friends of the Orphans and NPH is infectious, and I am so glad to have been able to spend the summer with such a committed group of individuals.
Claire and I worked on two main projects throughout our summer internship. For the first, we worked with Laura Useche, the Northwest Regional Manager for Child Sponsorship to thank the sponsors in our region. Along with the help of a wonderful volunteer, Caitlin Plummer, we made over a thousand calls to godparents to let them know how much their support is appreciated. Along with encountering our fair share of answering machines and busy signals, we also spoke to a number of sponsors, who made clear their passion for Friends with their excitement over receiving a call and their willingness to share stories about their wonderful godchildren.
Our second project, which required most of our time, was planning a Summer Family BBQ in August to be a community-building event for Friends in the Northwest region. With support from Kristen Bagley, the Northwest region’s Special Events Manager, we planned the event from start to finish. We picked the location, created invitations, procured donations of food and raffle prizes, made decorations, and coordinated volunteers. And in addition to teaching us a great deal about the process of event planning and, more generally, the mechanisms of nonprofit work, our efforts on the BBQ once again demonstrated how significant Friends and NPH are in the lives of those who work with them. We had a wonderful response from volunteers, who helped us from the planning stages through the day of the event itself. Even with their incredibly busy schedules, Stacie, Laura, Kristen, and Katie in the NW Friends office helped us enormously with aspects ranging from finalizing the invitations to locating the serving dishes needed for the event. And though we initially worried that no one would come to the event we had spent the summer planning, we had a fantastic turnout from the Friends community here in the Northwest. On Sunday, Claire and I were able to step back and watch everyone at the BBQ come together and enjoy the event. It was so rewarding to watch employees, volunteers, donors, and sponsors, many of whom already knew each other through the strong Friends community, talking, eating, and enjoying the event together. I’m so glad to have been involved with an organization that inspires such passionate support and encourages a strong community, even at such a distance from the homes where its children live. And I can’t wait to stay involved with Friends and NPH in the future!