When I began my internship search this previous summer, the only thing I knew about Habitat for Humanity was that they build houses. While doing further research through the University of Arizona’s internship page, I found that the job description met every single criteria I was looking for in an internship and with an organization that is doing so much for so many, it was safe to say I was very interested.Throughout my internship, and under the marketing and communications department, I learned and experienced more than I had ever expected from a semester long internship.
In my first week as an intern, I learned the ins and outs of Habitat for Humanity: what they stand for, what they do, and why what they are doing is so important to so many people. Habitat for Humanity recognizes that affordable housing is an absolute necessity. Habitat homeowners complete volunteer hours which Habitat Tucson calls “sweat equity” and pay an affordable mortgage for their new home. Throughout my short tenure with the non-profit organization, the value of a group like Habitat Tucson became ever so clear to me.
By the start of my internship it became obvious that, like they do with so many others, Habitat for Humanity wanted to help me in any way that they could. Opposed to making coffee runs and doing the work no one else wanted to, when I started out my supervisor asked me, “Well, what do you want to do here?” They explained to me throughout the process that I have the ability to learn about the things that I want to learn about and experience the things that I want to experience, and they are there to help me in whatever way they can.
While my internship experience was affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I was able to get valuable experience in every aspect I was hoping for. I especially enjoyed writing blog posts and getting experience in social media management. Admittedly at the start of my internship I was not exceptionally talented at either, but through training, with Habitat Tucson I was able to refine my skills and grow as both a writer and social media manager.
Writing blog posts, like the one you are reading right now, have been especially meaningful throughout my experience. While I was not able to personally interview home recipients due to the aforementioned global pandemic, reading about them and the challenges they have faced in striving to give their loved ones a better life has given me a new perspective on issues I had never previously considered.
One of the more impactful moments of my internship experience was the day I was finally able to visit the build site. During this visit I learned that Habitat Tucson was doing more than just building a home–they were building a community. That very same community was not being built by a construction company either, but entirely by volunteers. Seeing so many people going out and doing what they can, with nothing to personally gain, was a really amazing experience for me.
I came into my internship with the expectation of learning some real world skills I could put down on my resume, but I came out with a unique perspective on why affordable housing is so important, a deeper understanding of how the average person can make a difference, and some amazing experiences with people I will never forget. I encourage everyone to get involved with Habitat for Humanity.