I have grown in many aspects during my time at the KGLRC. I have been given a variety of tasks that have allowed me to build many skills such as leadership and critical thinking. Many times I am given a task and it is up to me to decipher what is being asked and find the best, most efficient way for it to be completed. Recently, I have been presented the opportunity to be a leader in some very important tasks that will make a big impact on the surrounding communities. The next big event we are putting together is the Kalamazoo Pride, which will be taking place June 16th!
This week at KGLRC everyone was in full preparation mode for Winter Gala, the largest fundraising event for the organization. I did a lot of work in regards to mailing invitations and donation cards out as well as being responsible for many of the decorations. I was also in charge of finding tasks for the volunteers and keeping everyone busy. Through my internship, I have been given many important responsibilities and leadership positions. This has allowed me to build skills I have never really had to opportunity to do previously in any work or school setting. I am often given tasks that I must use critical thinking skills in order to complete them with high standards and given the freedom to do it how I believe is best. I believe as time goes on, I will be able to strengthen my skills and apply them in necessary situations.
This week wraps up my first full week of my internship and I could not be more excited! It mainly consisted of learning the ropes and what the daily routine is like. The main focus this week was getting prepared for the Winter Gala event that is coming up February first and getting all the invitations sent out. In the short time that I have been a part of the KGLRC, I have realized how much assistance and care is available for the LGBT community as well as witness the bond Kalamazoo citizens share for the resource center. They provide many different programs and activities to bring the community together. These include a youth program, volunteer opportunities, a media center as well as a faith alliance group. From my short time at the resource center, I have learned a great deal about specific resources that can be useful for someone needing guidance and many times they just want someone to talk to that understands what they are going through. As my internship progresses, I hope to continue learning useful tools to help others in the future.
Hello! I’m Emily Kiwala and this is my third year attending WMU. I am a Criminal Justice major and a Gender Women’s Studies minor. I wanted to be a part of an internship that would extend my knowledge outside of the classroom. After exploring my options along with stumbling upon some obstacles, I made my decision to intern with the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center. They provide the LGBT community with a variety of resources from support groups to assistance hotlines. On my first day I was given a basic orientation of the tasks I would be involved with throughout my time there. My main duty is to answer the phones and provide people with any resources they may need. I will also be taking part in planning the Kalamazoo Pride event, which is one of the centers largest events of the year. I am very excited to start this new journey and make an impact in the community.
In Gender and Women’s Studies, we learn how to look at the world differently. This is exactly what this internship has made me do. I wanted to intern somewhere that would really make a difference in the community and I believe that I achieved this at Gryphon Place. We all hear about poverty, homelessness, and other community tragedies. Sometimes, we think that these issues are not close to home or don’t affect us. This is entirely untrue. Because I have only lived near WMU’s campus, I have not really experienced the poverty and hardships of Kalamazoo. This internship has made me realize how important volunteering and helping out the community really is. I did not realize how privileged I was to have food, a warm home, and the opportunity to attend college. Some of the callers that we get are homeless, mentally/physically/emotionally disabled, victims of domestic abuse, etc. Most of the time, the callers who are victims of abuse are women in the community. It is so important for women to be able to have somewhere to call and talk about their issues and to be able to get the resources to get them out of their current situation. It really is an amazing feeling when someone thanks you and tells you that you have changed their life.
Before this internship, I did not even know about 211 or Lifeline (suicide hotline). Now, I am constantly spreading the word for people to call us if they need any resources or just a listening ear. Gryphon Place does unbelievable things for people in the community and I believe that people need to know about them! I am really glad I interned at Gryphon Place and would recommend it for any GWS major/minor looking for an internship. I have finished my hours for the internship, but I am going to continue to volunteer at Gryphon Place and help out our community!
Because yesterday was Veteran’s Day, we answered Central Michigan’s 211 calls. Central Michigan includes Jackson, Lansing, Eaton, Hillsdale, and other counties in that area. My hometown is Jackson, so it was a little different to answer calls from this county. Most of the calls that I received were about Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets. Out of all the calls I received about assistance for holiday baskets, every one was a woman. These women were calling to get help providing for their families during the holidays. Thankfully, there are a few different resources around town that help families with food and toys for children. I knew that the town I came from was not the wealthiest place, but I did not think about not having enough money to give your kids a hot meal or a toy for Christmas. Sometimes, people think that issues like this don’t happen to people they know or see everyday, but it does. I realized that we should not be quick to judge these single moms who really are trying their best to provide for their families. I cannot imagine being a single mother and barely making enough money to pay the bills. On top of that, having to make sure that your children have a few gifts to wake up to on Christmas day. Unfortunately, this is a harsh reality for a large number of families. I was really relieved and happy that there are agencies in the community that help families during the holiday season. Working at Gryphon Place has really brought me down to earth and helped me realize that people share a lot of the same problems, no matter what their class/race/ethnicity.
Want to earn internship credit while working to advance the concerns of LGBT people, women, African Americans, Latinos, labor, and college students? Apply now to join the campaign for Jon Hoadley for State Representative in January 2014. For questions about GWS internships, contact the department; for questions about the campaign, contact David Topping, email@example.com.
Application for internship with the Hoadley campaign: http://www.tinyurl.com/hoadleyintern/