Elizabeth Todd ’21: The Global Fund for Children

Name: Elizabeth Todd
Class Year: 2021
Major: Anthropology
Hometown: Columbus, Ga.

Internship Organization: The Global Fund for Children
Job Title: Programs Intern
Location: Washington, D.C.

What’s happening at your internship?

I’ve done a multitude of different projects, but am currently finishing up the East Africa Scoping document that I have been working on all summer. I’ve helped write a youth advocacy strategy, made recommendations for partner selections, and helped craft guidelines for the Youth Leadership Council, as well as participated in SWOT analyses and training for OCA and ONA.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I wanted to get a different perspective on nonprofit work that was separate from my hands-on work. Working at an INGO that primarily functions as a funding body was an experience I was specifically interested in. I also wanted an office experiment to test out whether I can flourish in that kind of environment. I have a passion for nonprofit work, and this opportunity jumped out at me immediately.

Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?

Surviving the 9-5 workday was something I wanted to learn how to navigate, and testing out what worked and was doesn’t for myself is a skill that I really hoped I could cultivate. Honing my research skills will continue to serve me in my academic career as well as in my professional path. A large majority of my work has been writing, which I have historically considered one of my strengths. I have learned a new way to structure reports, and learned how to construct different types of resources, which has also been valuable. I have always been interested in grant making, so gaining a greater familiarity with that software and how it functions quashed a longtime curiosity of mine.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

This experience was not at all what I expected it to be, but in a good way. I expected to get coffee, make copies, and do all the grunt work that no one else wanted, which is the exact opposite of how my summer has gone. Starting with my first project, I was directly integrated into decision-making processes and got to familiarize myself with new grant making software. I had much more freedom and autonomy surrounding my work than I was expecting. This company also functions in an open office setup, which contributed to a really relaxed feel to the workday that I was not expecting. I’ve worked on a variety of different assignments in more than one focus area, which I did not expect to be privy to. The people that work here have been intensely welcoming, and while I didn’t expect the staff of a nonprofit to be cold, I didn’t expect how open and friendly everyone would be.

Madeleine Hall ’21: William Way LGBT Community Center

Name: Madeleine Hall
Class Year: 2021
Major: Anthropology
Hometown: Bellingham, Wash.

Internship Organization: William Way LGBT Community Center
Job Title: Senior Programs Intern
Location: Philadelphia

This summer, I have the great opportunity to intern at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia, which just had its 45th anniversary. The Community Center exists to provide queer people and their allies with resources, support, and opportunities to better their lives. The Center provides a range of services from free peer counseling, support groups for, cheap yoga classes, recovery meetings, education about HIV and testing, and is a judgement free place to hang out 365 days a year. Along with all of this, it houses incredible art exhibitions (come visit now to see an amazing exhibition honoring the 50th anniversary of Stonewall), and the John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives, which has the largest collection of LGBT ephemera in Philadelphia. I think anyone who is in the Gayborhood should stop in and visit, it truly is a wonderful place.

I found the William Way Center on an internet search for nonprofits in Philadelphia, emailed them a resume, and was referred to my current supervisor. After that, it was a quick decision, and I started going weekly in February before starting full time at the end of May. For my specific internship I am working under the Senior Programs Coordinator, who organizes a 50-plus gay men’s social group along with Access Services for the John C. Anderson Apartments. The JCA Apartments are around the corner from the Center, and is low income housing for 65-plus LGBTQ people. Even more specifically, the Center was awarded a grant to start a healthy eating program for the residents of JCA, and since my interests and background align with both food access and LGBT rights, the internship is a perfect match. My organization is on the small side, so I also do anything and everything, from marching in Philly’s Pride Parade to folding and cutting pamphlets.

The award winning gardens of the John C. Anderson Apartments, kept up by the residents.

The award winning gardens of the John C. Anderson Apartments, kept up by the residents.

My absolute favorite part of my internship is meeting and hearing the stories of the residents. In all honesty, I had never really considered my queer elders before, and now I realize that that was an oversight. Many of them grew up in deeply homophobic and transphobic communities, lost countless friends to violence, AIDS, and suicide, and the survivors are now being forgotten by their own community. As much as I love the queer community, so much of it idealizes and focuses on youth, and our elders are forgotten. Despite all this, the folks that I have met at John C. Anderson already feel like family to me. Growing up as a little queer kid, I never had queer elders to tell me about our history, the challenges they faced and surpassed, and now I fully believe that all young queer people should make an effort to talk to our elders. I have befriended a founder of the Gay Liberation Front, an incredible trans woman who was in a John Waters movie, and lovely gay couples who have been together for decades. As I am getting to know the residents, I am also learning so much about what it means to love, to have hope for a better future, and what it means to be a part of a community.