My internship will last 10 weeks, but it seems that my time at United Way has been composed of small defining moments. Although I will not miss the hour commute or balancing school and work, I will definitely miss these small unforgettable snapshots of what it is to work at United Way of Salt Lake.
I’ll miss being surrounded by passionate coworkers; people who would take time out of their hectic schedule to tutor young kids and volunteer. I’ll miss seeing the corporate secretary’s face light up after I tell her I represent United Way of Salt Lake, because she really sees the impact our work makes in the community. I’ll miss touring the community schools, where United Way and its partners help provide meaningful opportunities for thousands of students who don’t have the same opportunities to succeed. I will miss knowing that each extra phone call, or each new business prospect can help these kids. Mostly, I’ll miss the moments that remind me I am doing my part to help.
The richness of these moments makes me think of a meeting we had recently. A business that we met with was very excited about partnering with United Way of Salt Lake and wanted to engage in our community at a new level. It was going to be a large initiative, and they chose “Karma Project” as the name of their campaign. The passion and excitement with which they approached the task inspired me, but the idea of “karma” has impacted me even more.
I came to realize that this idea permeates every social change initiative, and touches anyone that really tries to use their resources to make a difference. It symbolizes my summer internship at United Way, and it represents the whole idea of collective impact. Karma is the idea that what you give out, comes back. In my time at UWSL and working to help create social change, I have found this to be true. Although the returns may not be monetary or material, they do come, and they create a better community for us all.