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Nonprofit in the Mountains

Over the summer of 2017 I had an internship with Dogwood Alliance. Dogwood Alliance is a nonprofit organization based in Asheville NC, whose main mission is to protect the southern forests of 14 different states. Most of their work is community grassroots organizing as well as holding the government and corporations accountable for their actions.  Due to the fact that Dogwood Alliance is based in Asheville, I was lucky enough to stay in Asheville for the summer, which I loved. Getting the chance to move to a new city where I knew no one was something that I’ve always wanted to do and being in the mountains was only a plus.

Throughout my college career I have grown more and more interested in working for a nonprofit organization after graduation. So, when I was thinking about the different types of positions I was going to apply for it only made sense to seek experience in the world of nonprofits. And I am so glad I did.  I was given the opportunity to have hands on experience working for a grassroots organization. I got to go out into the community and talk about something that I am so passionate about. I worked with other organizations to build a coalition based on similar beliefs. For the first time ever I had a nine to five job, which was a much bigger adjustment than I expected. I also got experience in large scale public event planning, something I knew nothing about previously. While I was technically a ‘policy’ intern for the summer, I was able to gain experience in a large array of different things.  After this internship I am more confident than ever that I want to work for a nonprofit, at least for the beginning of my career.

While moving to a city in which I know no one can be pretty intimidating, I am so glad that I did. It forced me to really branch out and befriend fellow interns in ways that I might not have otherwise. Living in a new, fun place like Asheville, there were many things that I wanted to do and explore. Moving somewhere new with no previously established friendships, forced me to establish and connect with new friends. I was also grateful to be living in the mountains and getting to play outside whenever I wanted.

I think what was most impactful part of my internship was the satisfaction from knowing that the work that I was doing was in someway, no matter how small, making a difference on the world. For as long as I can remember the most joy that I get is spending time outside. While how I spend my time outside has changed from playing tag with all the kids in the neighborhood, to spending the weekend hiking and camping, I have always had a passion for the outdoors. I am thankful that I have found a career path that allows me to work to protect something that I am so passionate about.