Thursday, July 20, 2017

Life of an unpaid intern

By Timothy Nairtney Belliveau, non-profit development intern

Think of the title “unpaid intern.” Now, close your eyes and picture the words associated with it. Coffee, paperwork, invoices? The “volunteer,” rite of passage that university students partake in has been described by some as unfair, disadvantageous, exploitive, and yet, necessary.

Throughout the interview process at Save The Bay, I was informed that paperwork folding, and furthermore, envelope stuffing skills, would make me a very well-equipped candidate to fill the position of Non-Profit Development Intern. This, of course, stirred images of something resembling Dilbert, but a poorer Dilbert. And yet, I took a chance with Save The Bay after consulting with family and professors for advice. After being with Save The Bay for about two months, I can honestly say that my experience with the team has proved to be among the most rewarding, educational, and exciting that I’ve ever had. Instead of mindlessly stuffing packages, that eventually leave to the great abyss called the mailbag, I have been provided the opportunities to engage myself in out-of-office expos, shoreline cleanups, authorship and collaboration with the marketing team on summer campaigns.

Whether it’s meeting volunteers at Ninigret Salt Marsh and assisting in planting projects through habitat restoration projects or enjoying the fruits of the Taste of the Bay fundraiser, having the opportunity to find meaning in a summer internship is something I haven’t taken for granted. The people here in the organization could not have been more welcoming in these first two months and truly make every week’s 8–12 hours a rewarding pleasure instead of a burden.

Save The Bay’s work is only possible with your generosity and care for our sacred Rhode Island landscape. We hope to see you at our upcoming summer events, including our annual Bay Swim on July 29! Even if you're not a swimmer, volunteers are pivotal to the success of this great event and we hope to see you there!