My internship was split between both our Home and Community Based Services department and our Day Habilitation program. I had worked for Mainstream Living for three years prior to starting my internship with them so I got to do things a little differently. Any office time I had was unpaid and I worked on learning the background of a non-profit. I was involved in a couple interviews, annual staffings, weekly team meetings, documentation review, and learning how billing worked. Mainstream Living allowed me to choose what I wanted to get out of my internship and what I wanted to learn. At our Day-Hab program I started by just getting to know the members and then transitioned to working shifts that were paid. I took groups of members on daily activities and worked toward their goals.
I think the greatest accomplishment I had during my internship was creating an Activity Calendar for Mainstream Living to use moving forward. Each year we are required by the government to take our members to a certain amount of community events. It can be difficult to motivate them to get involved if we don't have concrete suggestions to give them. I had the idea to create a google calendar with events in the Ames/Des Moines area. Included in the description is the location, handicap accessible parking/tickets, cost, and a brief description explaining what the event is.
What advice would you give?
My advice would be to find an internship that works for you. I got so much out of my internship because I was able to choose what I was interested in and what I wanted to learn. I still had certain tasks I was required to get done but their goal was to make my internship work for me. If there was a certain part of the company I wanted more experience in or wanted to be a part of I could do it. I just need to get into contact with the right person. Find something that gives you a broad look at the field, because at least for me I wasn't positive on what area I wanted to work in.