LifeMoves, San Mateo, CA
This summer, I interned at LifeMoves, an organization in the Bay Area that operates several shelters and outreach programs for individuals and families facing homelessness. When I first applied, the position was supposed to be as a lead for the yearly summer camp LifeMoves runs for the children living in their shelters. However, we had to adapt when Covid-19 became more widespread in the U.S. LifeMoves decided to go ahead with the summer camp to provide a sense of normalcy for the kids, but it was on a much smaller scale to accommodate physical distancing. As a remote intern, I was responsible for helping the high school counselors create content for the kids and to teach the high school counselors about the systems that create and perpetuate homelessness and how these systems affect the children at summer camp. My last main duty was to compile photos and stories for the summer camp blog, which was a great way to connect staff and donors with the summer camp experience.
This experience working with the high school counselors has been incredibly rewarding in a way that I wasn’t sure it would be! The first component was the great team of coworkers/supervisors that I had supporting me. My fellow interns were all dedicated and fun people to be around, so we created a really positive environment with one another. The next component was that I learned so much about teaching and creating curriculum, which isn’t exactly what I expected going in! The other interns and I basically built a three-week curriculum centering on homelessness, privilege, and video making from scratch. If that hasn’t taught me about being flexible and innovative, I don’t know what could—and I personally developed some skills and confidence in presenting/public speaking along the way.
In my role in creating the summer camp blog content, I also learned a lot about managing relations and also about communication and organization. Every week, I received dozens of photos and information from each individual camp, which I then sifted through and collected the best photos. I learned about curating the right images for the blog, keeping in mind what our donors would want to see and what will garner interest from the public. It was a really interesting project that I probably never would have been introduced to if not for having to do the internship remotely.
When I started the summer, I knew that I was passionate about public service work but I didn’t really know how I wanted to pursue that. I still wouldn’t say that I know exactly how I want to, but I do think that this summer internship has been a great opportunity to explore the field further. Even though my role was different than I’d expected, I learned a lot and was able to meet and hear from a lot of people doing different types of social work. In all, this summer was a great experience and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to have this experience.