As summer neared, I knew I would be heading back home. I had expressed my interest in nonprofit work and specifically in higher education to Raj before and it led to a conversation about joining SWAG to College over the summertime. To me this was perfect. I had previously been looking for an internship with a non profit in Houston and I came to realize how much more valuable it would be to work with an organization that was in the works rather than one that had been concretely established.
I’m about to complete my second month interning with SWAG. What I’ve learned and how I’ve grown is something I will take with me as I continue my college career and enter the workforce. I know it may seem cliché to say this, but truly, I’ve been exposed to great leadership, to people who give their time to this growing project on top of whatever else they may be handling, whether they are in Houston or not, and to an inside look at how an organization operates, improves, and expands.
When SWAG’s diverse team encounters a problem, we work together to brainstorm and come up with action steps. Each person’s opinion and idea is taken into consideration. As someone eager to learn, it has been a way for me to experience this field hands on.
I’ve been tasked with many different actions, primarily working on a KIPP partnership, to grant development, and specific board developments. Since I joined SWAG I have gained skills ranging from communication, to drafting grants, to setting up a meeting, presenting, networking and brainstorming ideas. I’ve learned about myself and my work ethic, about how I handle situations and how I can always be improving. I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn from very talented people and gained a stronger voice.
SWAG to College, those involved, and I share a mission: to decrease the gap in education between those who have been given an advantage and those who have had all the odds against them. Through working with SWAG I’ve been able to see first hand the amount of hard work that goes into beginning to mend a broken system as well as gained a deeper determination to be a part of the process.
-- Celeste Diaz