Getting Ahead While Giving Back

United Way NCA intern Avery Crocker shares her experience

As a high school senior with huge plans for the future, having connections and developing life skills is crucial. In this day and age, finding a job is very competitive, especially for those coming straight out of high school. Although they have been taught the tools that are necessary for their career of choice, many of them have little to no hands-on experience. Urban Alliance has given me, along with many other high school seniors, the amazing opportunity to intern with businesses that interest them and deal with their career fields.

I have been placed at United Way National Capital Area (United Way NCA), a non-profit organization that focuses on giving back to the community and creating solutions to help improve the lives of others.

Outside of school, I babysit and volunteer in the nursery at my church. I love working with the youth and helping build a successful future for them, so I knew that interning at United Way was going to be a great experience. I was placed on the Community Impact team and was told from Urban Alliance that for the most part, I would be working as an uw_leaderistrative assistant and was given the impression that I would be in the background rather than playing a big role.

Having that in mind, I came in my first day expecting just that. To my surprise, when I stepped in the door, I was greeted by an outgoing receptionist, followed by my wonderful mentor, Jalisa Whitley. Already, I knew that my work here was going to be far more than answering phone calls and filing paperwork. Jalisa had taken the time to set up meetings for me to attend beforehand, allowing me to get to know my coworkers and the work I’d be doing for my time at the organization.

About once a week, I attend “Coffee Chats” which give me an opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with the employees at United Way NCA and see how I can be of use to them during my time here. Being able to have these meetings gives me a chance to get to know my coworkers on a personal level and explore other career interests that I may not have known about. Additionally, these chats allow me to work on communication and networking skills that will be valuable to me now and after my internship.

Although I was assigned to the Community Impact team, I am able to work with all of the departments, which gives me the chance to explore my interests and engage with all members of the workplace. Within my month and a half of being at United Way NCA, I have participated in numerous activities, such as putting together items for a basic needs supply drive; creating posters; and encouraging members of the organization to donate to food drives, volunteer at local food banks, and lots more!

United Way NCA is dedicated to giving back to the community and making sure each person has the necessary skills in order to build and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Donating to United Way NCA gives us an opportunity to bring our creative ideas to life and make improvements throughout our region. When you donate to United Way NCA, it opens the doors for further engagements within the community and provides effective solutions to our community’s toughest challenges.

Being part of the United Way NCA team has helped me learn far more than just how to fax and create spreadsheets; it has taught me the importance of creating and maintaining relationships and giving back whenever I can. As a young adult going on to enter the real world, understanding these particular values is crucial to being successful. My time at United Way NCA has truly been an amazing, eye opening experience and I can’t wait to see what more they have in store for me!