From the desk of the Intern

Placing at the United Way of Durham Region

As part of my social service worker degree I had to find a block placement within my field to complete 525 hours from January to April. I looked at a lot of different places, most students wanted the front line that we’ve heard much about but I wanted something different and that is what I got.

I couldn’t have expected anything better than this. The people are amazing, welcoming, and friendly and really made me feel I am of use here. I knew very little about the behind scenes work of fund raising all I knew was that it is hard. Just throwing a small event at school to raise money was hard enough (for one of my classes second semester). I have had the pleasure of attending a meeting about events and seeing all the detail that goes into making these events happen and trying their best to give people a good event but also try and get the message across that every cent is helpful, well spent and goes back into this community. I saw the tough decision of possibly changing up the event but worried to lose the followers they have had or making it too much of something else and losing interest of others etc…

I have seen so much that I didn’t know about the United Way and how much they do for people. I had heard of them as many of us have but I never really knew what they were all about. I spent my first week here researching and finding out they work with close to 50 agencies here in our community many in which I had heard of from school, some of which I didn’t know worked with United Way at all. It’s a whole other world over on this side. The people here work so hard to run successful events and raise this money for this community and still many people don’t know who they are. I have learned so much that I never would have learned, about an office or fundraising, going anywhere else. I have been given the privilege of helping them do some planning for events and it still is crazy to think that there is this much to talk about on an event that has been going on every year and what to do with it. How it was started I couldn’t imagine trying to figure out.

I never expected an office environment to be like this or get to do the things I have been able to do being a placement student. I have only been here a couple of weeks and I cannot wait to see what else I get to do and learn. I am excited to see the events come together and attend to see how it all plays out. This is truly an amazing place to be and I am grateful for the experience. I am glad I took the time to go outside of the front line and learn these skills and experience this as this is an important job without the funding of the United Way a few places would be unable to continue what they do and many people would feel the strain.