Elizabeth Lutz | Author

Published 10/16/2020

Written 7/28/2020

My name is Elizabeth Lutz. I’m from Missouri and attend school in Illinois. Originally this summer, I planned to travel abroad to visit friends and family. Soon enough, my flights were cancelled and I was left with no summer plans. Knowing I’d be spending a lot of time at home, I looked online for ways to fill my time. I found an internship that did much more than that. 

I began working for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Garland the day after my online classes ended. I dove into working 20 hours a week from the jump. My workload at first seemed daunting, but once I got a hang of the system, and finding pleasure and meaning in my work, I felt like time flew by. I’m still surprised now, as I write this departure blog, that it is already over!

Consider this blog a short letter to a peer — I want to encourage anyone in my position to intern with HFHGG!

Since starting college, I’ve been interested in the non-profit sector. Working for HFHGG taught me the ins and outs, the highs and lows, the good and bad of the field. I walk away from this internship with a much more clear understanding of the nonprofit sector and how it may or may not play a role in my future career. I learned the significance of communication, organization, networking, and a job well done. I learned about low-income domestic communities and serving those around me in essential and creative ways. To be honest, I am taking away more skills than I could name — and probably more than I even know of at the moment. It’s really been an awesome experience.

Total, I clocked in 200 hours this summer! Let me tell you about what an average week looked like. My favorite accomplishment of my summer internship was my development of an Anti-discriminatory Program for the affiliate. I created a guidebook as to how to practice anti-racism and anti-discrimination in everyday work at HFHGG. This program was my idea, and it was amazing to have the support to create it. Throughout my internship, if I had an idea, I was allowed to run with it. I was never put down and only ever encouraged to pursue my passions at work. Creating this program was very special to me, and I am grateful to have gotten such encouragement from my supervisors.

Being the only intern at my affiliate, I wore many different hats. Each week was a new challenge that provided new experiences. I was able to spend time creating and posting social media content, creating yard signs for construction sites, finding grants and making a grant calendar, interviewing past homeowners, writing blogs, and more. I feel like I am walking away from this internship with the ability to learn as I go along, which is very valuable to me for my personal and professional future. 

My best memories were made doing social work through HFHGG. I was able to apply my studies and interests uniquely to my position, and was supported wholeheartedly by the entire HFHGG staff. It was a very special experience to be supported in my endeavors in this way. I so deeply value my time spent with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Garland those past three months.

I believe that my studies played a role in my ability to complete this internship. While my “Construction Coordinator” label does not directly apply to any of my majors (Anthropology, Sociology, Communications, and Economics), I feel like I was able to tap into each subject to accomplish my daily tasks. I often referenced old course material to problem solve in a timely manner, as well as to develop my interview questions. Regardless of what you’re studying in school, you can and will find meaning and enjoyment in this internship! The staff will help you create your own experience that is personal and individualized. 

This has been my first official and, somewhat, long-term internship which provided me with immense experience and a general knowledge of my workplace preferences and necessities. I learned a general comprehension of healthy work environments and being a part of a professional team, which is a knowledge that anyone (high schooler, undergraduate student, graduate, or AmeriCorps) will take value from.

I really appreciate you taking the time to read this blog, and I hope it gave you whatever information and confirmation you needed to apply for an internship or Americorps position. You’ll make an impact on the Greater Garland community, and I promise that they will return the favor for you, too.