A Summer Student’s Reflection
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Margaret Mead
This summer, I found myself working at the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area. Before my first day, I only had a vague idea of how the Foundation worked. I had no idea what to expect or what I would gain from my experience. If I have realized anything this summer, it’s that life is full of surprisingly wonderful opportunities. In the span of only seven weeks, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a tight-knit group that strives to meet the needs of the Kingston community through a variety of philanthropic efforts.
Now as I am coming to the end of my time here, I am reflecting on all that I’ve learned and the memories I’ve made. In only a short period of time, I’ve become immersed in a place that has taught me a great deal about the importance of giving back and the lasting impacts resulting from the generosity of others. It is through reflecting on how a small group of people are capable of changing peoples’ lives for the better, I’ve truly seen what hard work and dedication looks like. Every day was different from the next, with a variety of agencies and individuals circulating in and out of our board room.
If I’ve refined one skill as a result of working here, it is a heightened attention for detail. The amount of effort that goes into every letter or spreadsheet is integral for people to function. This is true of every workplace, but here especially. I also spent a lot of my time organizing and archiving. Many of the historic documents I came across serve as an important reminder of the rich history and longevity of the Foundation.
Over the course of my time at the Foundation, I came across numerous thank-you letters from recipients of our many grants. Some grants were large and others small, but regardless there is always an atmosphere of sincere gratitude. Seeing how much people appreciate the grants and what they can achieve with them was heartwarming.
Margaret Mead once wrote, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Each and every person I’ve met here, from board members to committee members fully embodies this spirit. While working here I’ve come to know that each person cares immensely about what they do. No matter what challenges seem to arise, they always come together as a team to figure out a solution. Whether it’s setting up a new fund, or examining a new policy, they always persevere to get the job done and with a smile on their faces. It was an inspiring group to be a part of.
Despite only being here for half of the summer, I know I will take everything I have learned and apply it not only to my future work experiences, but also in my life. I have a deeper understanding of how the work I’ve done will go towards making Kingston a better place.
By: Natalie Harmsen