This past summer I have been privileged to intern at Met Council. Prior to joining the organization as an intern, I had been searching extensively for other available internship positions…but to no avail. Internships are quickly snagged by college students and are not simple to come by. Yet, in the beginning of July, a relative of mine told me that she knew of a grant writing internship available at a non-profit organization called Met Council. I was elated when I was told this. An experience in the Grant Writing Department would allow me to further sharpen my communication and writing skills; qualities that are essential and highly valued in many career fields. I was also excited to intern at Met Council because I had previously volunteered for the organization by writing a newsletter about their services towards senior citizens. I had already been exposed to the extraordinary acts of kindness that the organization and its staff perform on behalf of New York Jewish community. When I volunteered at Met Council I felt privileged to be counted among the dedicated staff and realized that my efforts were benefiting the community in some way. I knew that an internship at Met Council would provide the same meaningful gratification.
It turned out that I had quite a lot to learn about grant writing and the role it plays in the organization. Yet isn’t that what internships are essentially about? Learning? It’s an extension of your college classroom, but less theoretical and perhaps more exciting. In the case of a non- profit organization, grant writing involves completing formal application processes and writing proposals that appeal to the government and other programs for funding. For instance, if the organization recognizes the need to start a unit that assists victims of family violence but they do not possess the necessary funds for the project, the grant writers will execute a proposal that includes an executive summary, statement of need, project description, and budget. This proposal will be sent to the government and/or other organizations, and will hopefully secure the necessary funding it requires. Grant writing is definitely the wheel that helps to turn the wagon and is critical for acquiring the funds that will financially support the organization’s programs and efforts.
What was my position in this department? I was responsible for researching New York demographics, Jewish poverty, and other statistics and data that were imperative for writing a grant. During my internship, Met Council’s grant writers were working on a proposal that required funding for securing RVs that would be stationed in various parts of NY and assist people with the food stamp enrollment process. Throughout the research process, I have discovered that there are a score of obstacles that prevent NY citizens in applying for government assistance. Lack of transportation, the inability to take off valuable time from work, and language barriers can all hinder the benefit enrollment process. There are hundreds of New Yorkers in need of food stamps, but the obstacles mentioned above can all restrain them from applying. Therefore, if this Met Council grant is able to access the funding it requires, NY poverty levels may significantly decrease, and food stamps will be available to those who need them.
I have also written briefings concerning Met Council’s senior citizen and family violence programs. I have carefully researched the various aspects and services that are provided in each program…and it was quite astounding! The services of Met Council’s senior citizen and family violence programs are so comprehensive that I didn’t even know where to start! The services included in the senior citizen program are housing, home-care, food assistance, transportation assistance and organized recreational activities. Similarly, Met Council’s family violence programprovides an array of social services and support, such as emergency shelter relocation, financial assistance, legal aid, career development and counseling. It was particularly moments like these where I considered myself fortunate to be a part of such an exceptional organization.
Aside from the learning I gained from my work experience, I have also learned from the other volunteers and interns at Met Council. During my internship, I had the pleasure of meeting volunteers and interns who share the same passion in the work that the organization does. Some of the interns I met are planning careers in fields such as education, social research, government advocacy, and non-profit administration. Meeting them was definitely a significant part of my growth experience.
In addition, I must mention that if you are a volunteer or intern at Met Council…you are in good hands! Met Council arranges “brown bag” sessions where volunteers and interns can gather together for informative lectures on Met Council’s continuum of services. Met Council also threw us an “Intern Goodbye Party” where we were provided with lunch and statements of gratitude from our supervisors and coworkers. It was wonderful that our time and efforts were appreciated so generously…but what else can you expect from an organization that is imbued with kindness and positivity? Overall it was a very enjoyable and enriching experience here at Met Council this summer. I would love to work with them again in the future!