Saying Goodbye to AVODAH

This summer has been a whirlwind of adventure to say the least, and I have enjoyed everyone minute of it. It was weird saying goodbye to the cubicle that I had worked in for the past 11 weeks, and to all of my amazing coworkers and friends that I was introduced to along the way. 

I know that I mentioned in my last post that I had discovered that working in the non-profit sector was more of a hobby than a profession for me, and although it was true I am still so grateful for my opportunity with AVODAH this summer. My first day in the office, I came in with no experience working in an office, and brought with me only a notepad and a pen. Now I am leaving with a confidence I never had before about this style of work. My main goal with this internship was to figure out how to work in an office setting, and whether working in the non-profit world was something that I wanted to pursue, and I think I was successful with both targets. My career interests have altered since I first arrived at AVODAH, but that was part of the reason I explored this internship experience in the first place. To figure out if a girl wants to work in the Theater, first you have to take her out of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think what I have learned the most from this experience is to not be afraid to try different professions, and take innovative opportunities because you never know where they may lead. For me, spending a summer New York City exploring both the non-profit world by day, and the theater world by night helped reaffirm my passions for the two, and helped lead me into a professional direction for the future. I truthfully was nervous when I received my internship with AVODAH for the summer, but I am so thankful that I seized this job because I know I have grown from it in a way that I probably would not have by staying in Philadelphia. If anyone reading this is interested in working for AVODAH for the summer, my recommendation is to apply! This is coming from someone who learned she does not even want to work in this field, but this summer was unforgettable. The people you will meet throughout the company are so kind and intelligent, and also it is an opportunity to explore a new place or field summer, so to me applying here is a no-brainer. I am truly shocked by all AVODAH, and New York City has taught me over these past 11 weeks. From meeting volunteers who moved me, to seeing shows on discount that inspired me. Never be afraid to take a chance on a wonderful position, you may just be surprised at what it will teach you.

– Jessica Star ’17

Is This Where I Really Want to Be? : My Midway Point at AVODAH

It is weird for me to think that I am halfway through my internship, and yet by the same token that I still have so much time left. When I first entered AVODAH five weeks ago I was excited by all that I would learn and the opportunities I would have, and I certainly have gained a lot from this experience. I had the opportunity to work at a fundraiser that was attended by more than 200 people, and learned how to mingle with extremely influential members of the Jewish Service community.   11407160_10204301021381322_3430737214322635737_n

 

I have also been able to learn about software tools such as Salesforce, which holds current, alumni, and staff contact information, as well as records of phone calls and donations made by these members. The skills that I have gained this summer are extremely valuable. However, I mentioned in my last post that this summer was going to be a trial for me on whether my passions sided more with community service or with theater, and I believe I have discovered my answer (although it may change 100 more times between now and when I graduate).  AVODAH is a wonderful organization, and I want to make that clear before I continue, but I have come to realize that my interest and passions lie more with theater. However, I am really thankful to have given this opportunity to discover this passion, and also to spend a summer in such a wonderful city. Internships are an opportunity to explore career prospects and this experience has better aligned me with my preferred path.  In the future, I foresee myself supporting a non-profit in more of a volunteer capacity.
sign_petition

Again, this should not dissuade anyone from applying here because I think AVODAH is wonderful, and I have loved and been inspired by everyone I’ve met. In fact, it is a testament to AVODAH that I enjoy coming into work every day.  There is no denying that it is a noble endeavor to work in a social justice field, and the feeling you get from helping others is unmatched. However, if there is something that you really love doing and you can find a profession in it, then you have to follow your heart. At the end of the day, I want to go into the theater after I graduate because it excites me in a way that no other field does. I am glad that I took this summer to test out working in a non-profit, because it taught me to go for what I really love moving forward, but also to make sure that I do not forget my love of service.

– Jessica Star ’17

 

 

Bringing the Non-Profit World to the MainStage – 1st WOW blog post at AVODAH

After changing my clothing the requisite ten times, trying to figure out whether I was supposed to be going uptown or downtown, and waiting in a clothing store because I realized I was forty five minutes early, my summer internship at AVODAH began.

 

 

(http://homedesigns.today/wp-content/uploads/Shoe-Organization-Creative-Closet-Ideas-47.jpg)

Most of my life I anticipated that I would be working in theater when I grew up, so it was surprising walking into a building that was not lit with spotlights, or barren in preparation for a dance rehearsal. It took me awhile to come to this place, where I realized that maybe my interests are not completely in a world hidden and protected from the outside world. Theater was always comforting for me in its acceptance of all types of people into this haven, but was it really what I wanted a profession in? The truth of it was that as much as I feel at home in the theater; I craved a challenge, and being in situations where I had to advocate my opinions not just be appreciated for them. Theater is certainly difficult within its own merit, but after almost 10 years of performing I knew I needed a change. This was part of the reason I chose to pursue technical theater in college to get a different exposure to the theater setting I know and love, but I soon realized that I needed to start including my other main interest: creating a safer and friendlier environment for everyone. As scary as it was walking into the AVODAH office building, I knew that this would be an opportunity for my passion for social justice to be tested, which made it all the more appealing.

 

(http://www.emporis.com/images/show/744084-Large.jpg)

I am no stranger to the community service and non-profit world, but from the context of a volunteer. Whether it be a soup kitchen, library, tutoring service I have worked for them all, but I never thought twice about it. I would come in, do my work, and then leave without thinking about my contributions, and also how much had to be completed behind the scenes for this program to exist. Walking into AVODAH, and being assigned to post job listings for other non-profits on their website right away was sort of a wake up call. AVODAH is an organization that is located in New York, Washington D.C., New Orleans, and Chicago that sends adults in their mid twenties to work in various non-profit organizations all across the world for a year. AVODAH helps support these adults through providing housing and a small stipend, so that they can achieve this beneficial work, while still supporting themselves. http://www.avodah.net They do a lot of fundraising, so that they can continue to provide this service consistently.

After every new assignment, I was shocked at how many emails have to be sent, how many phone calls need to be made, etc. to sponsor just one fundraising event. In two weeks, AVODAH will be holding three separate events for their Partners in Justice fundraiser. Which will help raise over $30,000 dollars from alumni of the organization, part of my job is making sure all of the logistical aspects behind receiving and soliciting these donations is completed correctly. This summer I will be working a lot with alumni of the AVODAH program to ensure their website is maintained, job listings are frequently posted, and that everyone is connected to the right list servs and people. It seems like mostly organization, which it is, but without so alumni would not know who to contact about prospective donations, where their next job would be, and making sure that the incoming members of AVODAH have sufficient funds, mentorship, and knowledge to complete their project to the fullest. My goal for this summer is to continue expanding my knowledge of the non-profit world, but from this background logistical model, and I have no doubt that I will achieve this. I spent almost all of my life performing and being in the spotlight, but college and hopefully this opportunity will let me discover what the backstage is like.

– Jessica Star