Winding down

With a little less than two weeks to go at Families Moving Forward, I’m feeling sad to leave. It may be truly cliche to say this, but time has flown by during my internship. I feel like it was just last week that I started my first day here, a slurry of new faces and new routines.

One of my fears upon starting this internship was the common assumption that a lot of “adult” jobs feel monotonous. The hustle of the “9-5” desk job with your eyes glued to a screen and the occasional 30 min lunch breaks of freedom. However, this internship has really been nothing like that, in the best way possible. Sitting in on team and event meetings, helping guests at the shelter during the evenings, and connecting them to resources in the area via emails and texts, my internship has been “hands-on” and engaging in every possible way. The best part though, is that this is truly a serious career field.  People who are full time staff here get to come in at 12 and do desk work, but also do meetings, and brainstorm with co-workers on specific guest issues, and then transition to programming, working with our families directly in the evening. If FMF has taught me one thing, is that adulting in the job world doesn’t all look the same.

Yes, this is most certainly not a corporate organization, job type, or work environment. I wouldn’t classify it as a strictly nonprofit desk job either. There are many people in the workforce who do sit at their desk and answer the phone for donations, and create fundraising events, and work via emails and calls. Perhaps it was dumb luck, or the internship I found myself slotted into, but working here has really been a “little of this, and a little of that” when it comes to what I do with my day to day. I think one of the biggest unexpected takeaways I am going to get from my time here is the wide array of options that are there for working in the nonprofit sector. From development, to hands-on client interactions, to fundraisings, events, advocacy and policy work the nonprofit world is definitely my little oyster.

Resultingly, this makes my imminent life transition out of college more daunting since I have more choices and paths than I ever thought possible; but it’s also reassuring to realize that there’s more than the corporate vs. nonprofit career paths. At the end of the day I always get excited for programming time, seeing my teens or the school-age students I get to work with is the best part, because it’s the direct engagement that I love so much. I can do research and send quick emails, and help craft events but I’m finding out this summer that I want, or honestly need to have direct access to clients and people when I am working. With the remaining time I have left here at FMF I am hosting a budgeting workshop for the teens at the shelter to learn how to manage a bank account, I helped to craft a cardboard bridge for our Girl Scout Troop to use for their bridging ceremony, and I’m still contacting and receiving surveys from families who’ve completed our AfterCare programs. I’m doing a little bit of everything, and I’m loving it.

Sloan Talbot is a rising senior from Ypsilanti, Michigan majoring in Cultural Anthropology with a Certificate in Ethics & Society. She is one of seven fellows in the Kenan Purpose Program

Sloan is a passionate advocate for greater access to resources for historically disadvantaged groups. At Duke, she is deeply involved in creating a community for first-generation college students. She is hoping to discern whether non-profit work is a possible career avenue for her this summer with Families Moving Forward, an innovative organization supporting families attempting to transition out of homelessness.

Sloan Talbot is an undergraduate student researcher, a participant of Kenan’s Summer Purpose Program, Freshman Focus, Duke Immerse, SuWA, and Citizenship Lab.

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