Posts Tagged mission-driven work

World of Work: Deanna Cameron ’91, Ronald MacDonald House Charities

Posted on September 12, 2012 with No Comments

Deanna CameronDeanna Cameron ‘91
Program Coordinator
Ronald MacDonald House Charities – http://www.rmh-vermont.org/
Burlington, VT
Major: Social Work

What motivates you to go to work everyday?

I’ve always been someone who needs to really believe in the cause that I’m working for, so that personal connection to the cause is a huge motivation for me. My niece and nephew were born prematurely and Ronald McDonald House was there for my sister-in-law during the three weeks that the babies were in the hospital. I saw first-hand how the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities strengthens families at a very difficult time.

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

My typical day consists of the following:

  • Our number one priority at Ronald McDonald House Charities is the comfort of our guests. So each day starts out with a house “check-in” in which we review our current guests, any new guests checking in, and address any guests needs.
  • I also manage the nearly 200 active volunteers who cover eight shifts daily in our programs. A large part of my job is ensuring that each of these invaluable volunteers has a meaningful experience serving our organization. I set up month-long volunteer schedules for both the House and in the Ronald McDonald Family Room located at Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care.
  • The second half of my job is fundraising. Depending on the time of year, I may be planning our next fundraising event. I update the agency’s day-to-day communications and social media to keep our supporters up to date on what we’re doing. I also do community outreach to share our cause and needs. And from time to time, I even get to snuggle a beautiful baby who is staying with us.

Tell us about your path to this position.

I definitely could not have imagined where my degree in social work would take me when I graduated. Early in my career my work was oriented toward direct service, doing case management with a variety of populations such as emotionally disabled teen girls and homeless/marginally housed individuals. From these experiences, I moved onto doing some program development in the housing field, which sparked my interest in this type of work.

The mix of direct service work with clients and managing the operations of service programs has proven to be the perfect combination of challenges to suit my skill set. I have been able to expand on this even more in my last two positions where I’ve also become involved in fundraising–both working with donors and on events.

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Volunteerism is a great way to take your career in different directions as well as a means to network with a new circle of colleagues. In the non-profit world where every penny is accounted for, new projects are often started solely with volunteer efforts. As greater value and need is placed on these new projects, staffing can be added to the budget and those that volunteered may then be considered for the new paid position(s). I wouldn’t advise students to volunteer with the goal of acquiring a paid position, but as a way to enhance their talents and explore an interest that may not be fulfilled in other ways.

Doing Good, Doing Well: Making Good!

Posted on April 26, 2012 with No Comments

Hands on the Earth

On Friday, April 20th, 2012, Billy Parish spoke at UVM regarding his book Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money and Community in a Changing World.

His book covers six steps to take in order to “make good”:

Reflect, Adapt, Connect, Design, Launch and Organize

During his talk, Billy provided some ways to get started:

  1. Identify the change you want to make in the world. Now. Think big, think mission, think forward.  Where do you really want to spend your energy “making good?”
  2. Choose a skill to master that will most impact this change.  What skill do you want to master in order to bring about this change?  Achieving mastery, according to Malcolm Gladwell, takes 10,000 hours of practice – so how do you want to spend your time?
  3. Gain mastery by one (or several) learning pathways: school, apprenticeship, on the job training & the do-it-yourself approach.  What makes sense for you at this point?
  4. Identify 5 people to spend time with to move you in the direction you want to go.  Parish commented that we are an average of the 15 people we spend time with.  Who do you want to be with and who do you want to be?  Choices begin with the people with whom you surround yourself.

Need ideas to get you started?  Take a look at TedTalks: Under 30, Doing Good and Yes!’s People We Love.

Need encouragement? Start Close In.  One step at a time, while looking forward.  You are in good company!

~Holly

Doing Good, Doing Well: Four Core Elements of Doing Well

Posted on January 26, 2012 with No Comments

Compass

Belonging, Independence, Mastery, and Generosity

While to-do lists and deadlines are important to moving forward in our lives, clarifying our own intentions can move us in the direction we really want to go. The Circle of Courage, a strengths-based development philosophy, identified four crucial elements that may be useful guideposts as you navigate classes, activities, relationships and responsibilities:

Belonging: Relationships of Respect
Mastery: Competence and Achievement
Independence: Personal Responsibility / Inner Discipline
Generosity: Making Positive Contributions

Belonging is one guidepost we use at Career Services.  Core elements of building a sense of belonging are: People, Place & Purpose.

How can this be helpful? Here are some questions to ask in your work/life exploration:

People:
Who is doing work you believe in?
Who would you love to work with? Live near? Serve?

Place:
Where do you have or want to build connection?
In what type of environment do you flourish?  Location? Organizational culture?

Purpose:
What do you love doing?
What skills to you want to use? What is needed that you have to offer?

These questions can offer a larger perspective than your major, GPA and resume.  Reflect, explore and move in the direction that matters to you!

~Holly

Internship of the Month: ECHO Lakeside Aquarium and Science Center

Posted on January 19, 2012 with No Comments

Kyle Pestlin

Intern: Kyle Pestlin
Class Year: 2012
Major: Biology
Employer: ECHO Lakeside Aquarium and Science Center
Internship Title: Animal Care Intern
Website: www.echovermont.org
LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kyle-pestlin/21/945/963

Briefly tell us about the organization you were with:

ECHO is an aquarium and science center located on the Burlington Waterfront. Their goal is to provide a fun and interactive environment for kids to learn about the local history, culture, and ecosystems. ECHO houses 70+ species of fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles and provides various internship opportunities including a variety of education/teaching internships.

How would you describe the various projects you did in for your organization someone who is unfamiliar with your field?

I worked in the Animal Care department which strictly deals with the animals. My job consisted of cleaning tanks, feeding, designing and building exhibit habitats, medicating animals, and learning about ECHO’s water system. All the techniques I’ve learned in animal care are transferable to other zoos and aquariums across the country to the standards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

What did you like best about this internship? What was most challenging?

What I enjoyed most about this internship was to learn about all the different aspects of animal husbandry. Working at ECHO has really improved my ability to create animal specific habitats that I now apply to my lizard tanks at home.

The most challenging aspect of working at ECHO was to remember all the different diets for each of the animals. For example, some fish get fish food that we make, while some eat fish, some eat earth worms, others eat blood worms, and that’s just the fish. Frogs, reptiles, turtles, and crustaceans all have specific diets as well.

How did you gain credit for this internship?

I met with Mary Beth Barritt at Career Services. She informed me of a course she was teaching that provides credit for internships (EDSS 239). The work for the course consisted of reading inspiring and thought-provoking articles and then writing responses to these articles while including relevant internship experience. This course helped facilitate the learning process in my internship by requiring critical thinking on aspects of the internship that otherwise would have gone without acknowledgement or appreciation.

What impact did this internship have on your career direction?

This internship really opened my eyes to what I truly enjoy doing. Just knowing that I am improving the lives of these animals by giving them care and attention makes it all worth it. This internship has also confirmed the importance of knowing you are contributing and making a difference in society.

What advice do you have for students searching for internships?

When looking for an internship you have to stay persistent and look for a job in a field you are truly interested in.

Why should students do an internship?

I feel having an internship is really helpful no matter what. Even if you hate your internship you then know that you may be in the wrong field. You may learn you enjoy certain aspects of your internship more than others, and it may not even be what you had expected. This helps narrow your overall career path to the job that will ultimately be best for you.

Doing Good, Doing Well: Now for Something Different

Posted on December 15, 2011 with No Comments

Goofy

Time for a well deserved break!  Rest the mind, rejuvenate the spirit, and, well, maybe wonder a bit about the year to come and what you may want to create…

Need some inspiration?  Here are movies with stories about life purpose and direction. So, take a break from the books and enjoy some entertainment that may lead to clues on where you want to put your energy – once you have recovered from the busy semester.

~Holly

Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wpburn.com wordpress themes