Getting anywhere in America’s job market today as a young professional demands an preliminary work experience of some kind. The easiest way to get it is an internship, but, because B.S.A. is a nonprofit in which all employees besides the CEO and Vice President are interns, interning for them is a unique experience. To give you a fuller picture of that experience, I sat down and interviewed two interns from two different departments. Since I’m an intern as well, I’ll also provide my answers to the questions.
Sivashankri, or SK as she’s known around the office, works as an H.R. Coordinator from Temple, Arizona, but lived most of her life in India, where she worked in I.T. She decided that kind of work wasn’t for her and, after moving to the U.S., switched to human resources. She is almost completely done her first internship with BSA and will return for a second one.
Brianna Bennett writes, designs, and publishes our monthly newsletter. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing from Kutztown University. While there, she wrote articles for the Kutztown University Women’s Center.She’s halfway through her first internship with BSA and may return for a second one.
Belinda Sacco (myself)
In addition to writing this blog, I also manage some of our social media accounts and supervise our other blogger, Deniz. I’ve lived in Baltimore County, Maryland my whole life. I recently graduated University of Baltimore, where I wrote for our student newspaper and worked in A.V. I’m a little over halfway through my first BSA internship and may take a second one.
What attracted you to BSA in the first place?
SK: I found BSA through Super Interns and I love the mission. It’s a great initiative, a great cleaning up, because messing up is easy. People do it all the time, but revitalizing is a great task. I can really feel how much challenge is going on [for Melvin White].
BB: Well, I didn’t know BSA existed until [H.R. Coordinator] Chaewon reached out to me in August. However, once I learned what it was and what it was about, I was hooked. I have always loved helping others, so being able to apply my skills to a non-profit organization was perfect for me.
Myself: I had just graduated college and was struggling to find some sort of meaningful way to use my skills in a world that either didn’t take me seriously because I didn’t have any professional writing experience outside of writing for my school newspaper or thought the very idea of making money as a writer too ludicrous to even consider. At the same time, I watched entire generations of people in my hometown live in despair. Some turned to selling drugs to make money to get out. Some kept pushing through school in hopes of making a better life while their families leaned on them for support. Some people got shot…It was awful and I felt helpless to do anything. I found BSA on another internship site, and I fell in love with the mission. I’ve always wanted to do something to help and BSA is a way of doing that.
What’s working for BSA like?
SK: It’s a lot of role-balancing. Sometimes I feel like a team leader, other times I feel like a team member, other times I feel like a boss. It’s a mixed feeling. Initially, it was a little confusing. I thought, at certain times, “Should I ask these questions? Who should I ask?” because I took such a long break from working. Mandy, one of the HRC interns at the time, mentored me and gave me hints that I could take on. I got clarity within 8 weeks.
BB: It’s the simplest and most welcoming work experience I’ve ever had. Because it’s a virtual internship, I don’t necessarily need to worry about doing my hours at a specific time each day. As long as I complete the required 10 hours per week, I have no problems. I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience and worked with some amazing people, so I’d say it’s a great internship opportunity!
Myself: It’s a virtual office, a little like school. You have your deadlines and your weekly duties, but as long as you get them done on time, you’re good. If you ever get stuck, there’s always someone to ask.
What do you like about working for BSA?
SK: Five things: It’s serious work for a serious cause, there’s a lot of responsibility, you get to make your own decisions, there’s no micromanagement or macromanagement, and there’s always mentoring when you need it. It’s a great balance. I needed it, because after taking a break from work for 6 years (I had a visa that didn’t allow me to work) I needed guidance.
BB: I like the flexibility and the knowledge that I’m helping an organization prosper, even in a small way.
Myself: I love the mission, the team, the founder’s enthusiasm, and the flexibility.
Want to know more? Leave a comment down below with your question or comment.
Interested in interning? Apply at belovedstreetsofamerica.org under the “services” tab.
Remember, It’s not a black thing; it’s the right thing.