Week 11: The Very Last Blog Post, Really?!

Hours Log:

April 4, 2017
Number of Hours: 8
Total Number of Hours: 120/120

Week Summary and Internship Self-Reflection 

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Let me just start with saying wow, I cannot believe that I have already made it to my last day of the internship. 120 hours of gaining more knowledge, experience, and facing new challenges. And yes, this is my final blog post. Its the final episode of that favorite show you’ve been following, like in the picture above. So first let me start with a recap of my last day and then I will move on to answering some questions about my experience here at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.

Outline of the Day: 
Unfortunately, one of my supervisors was out today. My one supervisor Oliver was in New York.  Oliver and Adrian will be sending me a digital copy of their supervisor report for the conclusion of the internship. That is not to say that I didn’t have things to work on today. I was given an agenda like every other week to complete some tasks. Today, I finished up the last grant opportunity that I needed to complete which was the Non-Profit Energy Makeover Contest. Once that was completed, I submitted the grant proposal to PPL. I also sent over the remaining grant materials from my Arts & Access Grant to Oliver. I wrapped up the last bit of donations that I had been raising for Project SILK reaching a total of $370.00. I created grant checklists and info sheets for Oliver. Lastly, I met with Adrian to discuss my strengths and weaknesses in the internship and was given some helpful advice in regards to the workforce moving forward.

Evaluating the Internship Experience: 

When I first arrived at this internship, I was quite nervous to start. I was not sure what to expect but I was equally eager to learn about grant writing, grant research, grassroots fundraising, and sponsorship calls.

I believe that I have gained a considerable amount of experience in grant writing and research. The process of writing and research is often not very different from much of the research and writing skills I have gained at Kutztown University. The only other difference with grants is that you must follow strict guidelines and follow important directions. Oh and you are dealing with sometimes large amounts of money that have a significant impact on the programs that a non-profit can provide to their community members. In this case however, I had the opportunity to work with the very community that I love so dearly and am a part of myself. Prior to interning at Bradbury-Sullivan I had no experience with grants and over the weeks I interned had overcome learning curves when it came to this specific area. I believe that knowing the grant research and writing process will prove beneficial should I choose to pursue a career in non-profits or in higher education.

The grassroots fundraising campaign forced me to get out of my shell when asking for money. I was tasked with raising funds for a program of my choice at the Center, and the natural choice for me was the youth program project SILK. In the end I did not reach my intended goal, however the funds I did raise will help support the program with additional resources that they need. It was certainly nerve racking to try and ask individuals for donations for this program, however towards the end of the internship, I began to really clamp down on this project and work to raise as much as I possibly could with the time allotted to me. I believe that if given other opportunities to develop this skill further that I could excel.

The largest challenge that I had faced, however was sponsorship calls. This was a challenge for me, because like many people we tend to prioritize the things that we are good at and put off things that we are not. This was certainly the case for me when it came to sponsorship calls. I believe that my nervousness with this task and general lack of training did not prepare me very well. I would have preferred to have more hands on training when it came to sponsorships, however I admit to my own personal flaws when it came to this task specifically. There is significant room for development in this area and I have recognized that in terms of the development field in non-profits this is not my strong suit. Both Adrian and I have discussed that as a social individual, I may be stronger in event fundraising and campaigning.

Throughout the internship, I believe that I was highly responsible in ensuring that I arrive on-site on time and that I always made sure that I could find a way to arrive to my internship, even if that meant taking the Bieber Bus to Allentown and back sometimes twice a week. I can say without a doubt that it was well worth it. While I also appreciated much of the independent work, I would have also liked to have more regular meetings with my supervisors to discuss my strengths and weaknesses more so that I could have improved upon them throughout the duration of the internship. But, I will be leaving this internship having gained a great deal of knowledge about working in the non-profit world and specifically in the area of development. The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is a great place to learn and develop these important skills if this is an area in which you can see yourself working. I would recommend that other Women’s and Gender Studies minors consider interning here and even in other areas aside from the Development Internship.

Prior to Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, I have not had any significant workforce experience outside of on-campus jobs. Now with this experience, I will be able to better evaluate and assess my strengths and weaknesses when I decide to join the workforce or pursue my future careers. The great thing about internships is you have the ability to fall down and get back up and learn from your weaknesses, which is something that I have certainly done here at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. I thank both the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the Center for having been given this humbling experience to gain more skills but to learn a thing or two about myself.

I may post again in the future. Time will only tell. Nykolai out.

 

Nykolai Blichar
Development Intern, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

Why I Chose Women’s and Gender Studies… and Why You Should Too!

Before I make my final blog post about the conclusion of my internship, I want to discuss the very program that allowed me to pursue this awesome opportunity. I came to Kutztown University as a Secondary Education major with a concentration in Social Studies. After quickly realizing that being a teacher for grade school was not for me, I switched to Political Science, a natural switch for a young individual who had always followed world wide and national political movements, was engaged with USA politics, and loved political theory. While Political Science has been a hallmark of my time here at Kutztown University, so too has Women’s and Gender Studies. Early on in my academic career I had become an undergraduate assistant of the GLBTQ Resource Center and by the end of my freshman year was elected President of Allies of Kutztown University. Both of these things had me immediately pick up a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies.

Why? Because I needed to engage with a program that showed me the intersectionality of identities, that diversity and inclusion is important, and so that I could become a better advocate not only for my own community, the LGBT community, but all under-served groups. The lessons taught in many of the courses in Women’s and Gender Studies, discussed real issues happening in our world, issues that affect women, men, LGBT individuals, African Americans, those with disabilities, the list goes on and on. I grew up in a small rural town in Pennsylvania and I was craving exposure to more diversity not only in my involvement but on an academic level. Women’s and Gender Studies delivered on that hunger for more knowledge and awareness about the world around me. My second semester of my freshman year, I took the Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies course with Dr. Clemens and I absolutely loved it.

The topics that were covered propelled me to the level of activism that I have currently achieved today. I thank the Women’s and Gender Studies program for helping me develop my activism skills and educational opportunities. I have gone on to take an independent study in women’s and gender studies, Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Literature, Marriage and the Family, and even Gender Crime and Justice. All these amazing classes provided greater insight for students and more inclusion in their lessons. Thanks to the lessons learned in these classes and the amazing professors in the Women’s and Gender Studies department, I have been able to do some amazing things, including meeting Vice-President Joe Biden through my work with the national It’s On Us campaign. The program encouraged me to join FMLA, which I served as President of, direct the well-known Vagina Monologues, serve on the Commission on the Status of Women, and continue my work with the LGBT community by interning at the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. But most importantly find my inner FEMINIST. As a male I have found this program to be so valuable to my experiences at Kutztown University. To my fellow male counterparts, Women’s and Gender Studies is definitely for you!

Women’s and Gender Studies and the lessons learned through taking the minor will surely be helpful as I go into graduate school for Student Affairs and Higher Education and serve in my new role as the Graduate Assistant for the Women’s Center and GLBTQ Resource Center. I am so grateful to the lessons taught by our amazing faculty in the department.

If you do anything during your undergraduate career, please consider adding the Women’s and Gender Studies minor. This minor will certainly change your perspective and open your eyes to a world of diversity and wonder.

Week 10: Last Leg of the Race

Hours Log:

March 28 and 30, 2017
Number of Hours: 16
Total Number of Hours: 112/120

Week Summary: 

This marks the official last full week of my internship. I am currently at a total of 112 hours out of 120. Next Tuesday I will reach the 120 mark and complete my internship at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. I have given both Oliver and Adrian the Supervisor’s Report to complete on my behalf to conclude the internship experience.

The week started off much better than the last. Both Adrian and Oliver were back at the Center for me to continuing working on some other projects that I had been assigned. On Tuesday, I spent a majority of time continuing to work on my individual donor campaign. I spent time reminding some individuals who stated they would donate to follow up on their donations. I also garnered some new donations. While I don’t believe that I will reach the $1,000 goal, I have gained a considerable amount of experience in planning and mapping out such a campaign for the future. It was an interesting experience all the way up until the end. I now have a much better understanding about the importance of fundraising and encouraging individuals to donate to important causes like Project SILK.

On Tuesday, I also worked with Adrian to revise the Arts & Access Greater Inclusion Grant. Unfortunately, the grant was not written in the format that was apparently needed, which to my knowledge and that of my other supervisor we were unaware of. I was given a few examples and I have attached a link to the grant that I have written on Google DOCS. I think I have  learned a great deal in the area of grant writing and research. It is certainly an interesting process one that requires great attention to detail and requires you to put the organization’s best foot forward. These experiences will prove quite useful if I plan to pursue a degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education, because this skill extends beyond non-profits.

I also spent time Tuesday continuing to do some more grant research creating info sheets and checklists for Oliver when he goes to apply for them. Many of these grants that I was researching are great opportunities for Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.

Today, I spent a great deal of time reworking the grant that I had already written into a new format. I am honestly quite proud of the new one that I have written and I plan to go over the grant with Adrian next Tuesday to conclude the grant writing portion of my internship. I also need to get in contact with the artist that I have selected for the grant to ensure that her works have LGBT-related themes included in them.

I was also asked to research quotes for another grant that is being written in regards to how art therapy assists LGBT youth in their development. The Center is looking into bringing someone into the youth program Project SILK to provide art therapy to young people to explore other aspects of themselves and to address anxiety and stress that they may face as a result of coming out or coming to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Next week I will be wrapping up the Greater Inclusion Grant. If Kerri Radley, the artist I selected, does not reach back out to me Oliver will be taking that off my hands after I leave. I will also be working to wrap up last minute donations for my individual donor campaign. My goal is to raise at least $300 by the time I leave on Tuesday. Also I have been asked to land a sponsorship for their book talk on May 8th, so I will be doing that on Tuesday as well. Lastly, I will be finishing up the energy grant too to submit to Adrian to complete.

Link to the Greater Inclusion Grant that I worked on: Greater Inclusion Grant

Until next Tuesday (last day), Nykolai is out!

 

Nykolai Blichar 
Development Intern, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

Week 9: The Roughest Week Yet

Hours Log: 

March 21 and 23, 2017
Number of Hours: 16
Total Number of Hours: 96/120

Week Summary: 

To start, this week I was on my own for the most part as both Adrian and Oliver attended a conference in Texas this entire week. I was given an agenda with a list of priorities to work on for the week. The first gaining a food donation for their dedication ceremony of their new offices for the youth program Project SILK on April 5th . The second project was to work on getting sponsorship from businesses for another event that is taking place May 5th. I spent a good chunk of both days trying to just get a food donation. I am not quite sure why I had the hardest time trying to get this food donation. I have yet to successfully obtain a food donation. Most food places I called either just took my phone number and said they will call me back or they said no all together. I called many of those same businesses again today to follow but they gave me the same run around. I contacted some grocery stores instead thinking that they may be more open. Giant in particular wanted a letterhead to be delivered to the store. Wegmans needed everything submitted online which I did and completed. I tried to move on to getting cash sponsorships from other businesses too, however because I am unfamiliar with the area and have never quite done anything like this I was a little lost on getting this task done. I am tempted to call businesses tomorrow when I am not even on-site just so that I may accomplish something.

I feel horrible that I wasn’t able to succeed in either of the tasks this week. I hope that Adrian and Oliver will understand come next week. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to simply obtain a food donation for one event. I am not sure if it was the relative closeness of the event that was taking place or not. Next week when Adrian and Oliver come back we are going to be reviewing the Greater Arts Council Grant, I assume to fix some mistakes. Next week I will also wrap up the Non-Profit Energy Makeover grant as well to be turned in. Additionally, I need to remind some of my donors for my individual donor campaign to complete the submissions and make sure that they make their donations so that I can begin wrapping up that project as well as well as finishing contacting some others. I am quickly reaching the end of my internship experience and will reach the 120 hours by April 4th. I hope to reach many of the goals that I have set for this internship.

This week has been quite interesting and I definitely have been hard on myself for not getting at least one sponsorship. I have emailed Ollie about the outcome and hope that we can discuss further next week. I would say this has been my biggest challenge.

Until next week….Nykolai out.

Nykolai Blichar
Development Intern, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

Week 8 Pt.2: Post Snow-ocolypse

Hours Log

March 15, 2017
Number of Hours: 6
Total Number of Hours: 80/120

Day Recap

So today was quite interesting, as this was the first time that I had to work from home due to a snow storm. Due to the storm and some inaccessibility issues I was not able to be on site today, however, I chose to work from home to get some of my projects that I have been working on done. Today I finished the Lehigh Valley Greater Inclusion Grant to contract an artist with a disability. Both of my on-site supervisors will be looking over the grant for revisions and I will be able to submit it next Tuesday when I am on-site. This will be my first grant that I will have completed.

On Monday, Ollie and I have agreed to work on a grant together. The sections that I have been assigned I have also worked on and finished as of today. I will be waiting for Ollie to finish his sections as well to review what I have wrote. Adrian, I am sure will also be reviewing my sections. The Non-Profit Energy Makeover Grant that I am working on is almost complete and I will be finishing that up next Tuesday as well!

I also continued to work on my individual donor campaign and that will be an on-going project. Overall this week was pretty relaxing even though we had a major storm and it is spring break. Next week I begin coming in regularly again on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My last official day is now April 11th to make up for any lost hours from today.

No particular struggles today other than the snow.

Until next week, Nykolai is out.

Nykolai Blichar
Development Intern, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

 

Week 8 Pt.1: The Calm Before the Storm

Hours Log

The calm before the SNOW Storm that is….

March 13, 2017
Number of Hours: 8
Total Number of Hours: 74/120

Day Recap

This week I was supposed to be in Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, however it is looking like my week is going to be broken up into two days. With the impending snow storm, I thought I would kick back and stay on campus just to be safe for tomorrow. Ironic how it’s spring break but a major winter storm is about to hit us. I will be making up that Tuesday at the end and my new official last day will be Thursday April 6 instead. I will try to make it Wednesday if everything is better with the roads and such.

Today I began making calls for food donations for the Renaissance meeting taking place in April. While I was not able to get a donation yet, I was able to get a couple businesses interested enough to want me to send them information. I will be continuing this project on Wednesday. I also continued working on my individual donor campaign to raise funds for Project SILK. If you received an email or phone call from me, please respond if you plan on donating. I met with Adrian at lunch today to discuss how that project is going and some of the struggles that I am facing. One of the toughest struggles is that I am finding that those individuals on the lower end of my donation list are often reluctant to give.

Adrian has suggested that I switch up the way I do asks for some of those individuals who may fall on the $10 ask list. He also suggested I continue focusing on the top donors and to even ask the President of the Kutztown University, since I have a good report with him. The other challenge I have been facing is getting individuals to follow up on their donations. Many have stated that they would donate but have not followed up. I will have to begin to send email reminders or remind individuals in person. I am about a quarter of the way to my $1,000 goal. I would like to make some significant project on that in the upcoming days that I have left at my internship.

I continued working on two of the other grants that I was given to work on which is the Non-Profit Energy Make-over grant. Adrian and I sat down to crunch out some of the numbers that we needed for the grant. I am still waiting to hear back from the other artis about her contact information so that I can submit the Lehigh Valley Arts Council Grant. Ollie and I will also be working on a grant together and we will most likely be starting that on Wednesday, since there is not much time left today. Also on Wednesday, Ollie and I will be visiting businesses to get sponsorship’s.

This is only part one of week 8, so be sure to tune in for the aftermath of this impending snow storm on Wednesday.

Nykolai is out until Wednesday.

 

Nykolai Blichar
Development Intern, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

Week 7: 8 Days to Go!

March 7, 2017
Number of Hours: 8
Total Number of Hours: 66/120

Today I officially made it to the halfway point of my internship! I can’t believe that I only have 8 more days left. Today I worked on a variety of projects, including the grant that I was working on from the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. I am almost finished writing the grant, I just need the artist that I selected to reach back out to me with more specific contact information and I will have completed my first grant. The artistthat I chose is an LGBT ally who has a hearing disability and writes zines called Deafula.

You can check it out here: http://www.deafulazine.com/

I also began working on an application for a Non-Profit Energy Makeover from PPL. This project would allow for a non-profit to turn its space into an energy efficient area allowing them to save lots of money on bills towards various other projects and programs. I also requested an event day with Dorney Charitable donation request for Friday June 23, 2017.

I learned more about sponsor donation thank you letters and the importance of letting your donors know that you appreciate them.

I worked on my individual donor campaign even more asking my individual donors to support Project SILK, the LGBT youth of color program here at the Bradbury-Sullivan Center.

Next week is Spring Break, but that does not mean I am not coming in. I will be on-site Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week working on my grant writing with Ollie in addition to my other grants. I will also be working on getting a donation for Renaissance’s April meeting. Ollie and I also plan on visiting with businesses next week as well. After that I will return to arriving onsite on Thursdays until April 4, which is my last day at the Center. I will need to request an evaluation form from my advisor for my on-site supervisor to complete on the last day.

It has been a hectic week already and it is only Tuesday. The news that Gavin Grimm’s case will not be heard is certainly a block to advancing transgender rights across the nation. I am continuing to work with students on campus to advocate for them at the highest levels of administration. I stand with Gavin and I stand with the millions of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals across the nation. Your rights matter. Your voices matter.

But on the bright side, I did get accepted to Kutztown University’s Student Affairs and Higher Education Program and I have a graduate assistantship interview tomorrow for the GLBTQ Resource Center and Women’s Center. I am praying that goes well and that I land the position.

I am looking forward to being in for three days next week, as it will allow me to get more work done with my internship and complete even more hours at the Center.

Until next week, Nykolai is out.

Nykolai Blichar
Development Intern, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center