In the fall of 2015, the Max Shacknai COVE and the Upstate Institute joined together with local community agencies to offer paid internships to federal work-study–eligible students leading to lasting community outcomes and offering students who may not have the option to volunteer time at a nonprofit organization the opportunity to gain professional and leadership skills. This year we increased the number of internships to seven, more than doubling the program. Seven students worked with six community organizations: Partnership for Community Development (PCD), Town of Hamilton, Fiver Children’s Foundation, Southern Madison Ambulance Corps, Village of Hamilton, and Waterville First. This program allowed students interested in gaining a deeper experience in nonprofit administration hands-on, long-term, in-depth work. Projects provided capacity building assistance to the organizations with which we partnered. One student helped to write a policy and procedural manual for SOMAC, while another enhanced the organization’s social media presence. Students working with the other organizations provided data analysis and technology assistance to increase communication and evidence-based decision making for their organizations. We saw several win-win outcomes to this program in the first year and aim to continue to grow the program in future years to offer more internships.
The student working with SOMAC wrote, “My interest in health care is what first drew me to SOMAC; I had a few friends who had already passed training and volunteered as EMTs down at the station. I became interested in community work after my previous summer internship where I worked for a nonprofit helping New Yorkers sign up for health insurance. I felt a great sense of fulfillment in that position and I was eager to use those skills for a similar position while on campus. SOMAC is an invaluable institution to the Hamilton community and I was excited at the opportunity to be able to assist the organization in any way I could so they could spend more time focusing on giving patients the care they deserve.” – Nezar Mehanna ’18