Throughout my entire life, I have been drawn to volunteering. When I was in middle school, I volunteered at a meal delivery program in the Washington D.C. area. Preparing brown bag meals and then driving with my mom and best friend to feed less fortunate people became a weekly tradition. Seeing their smiling faces and how grateful they were for the meal drew a smile to my face and showed me the difference dedicating a few hours to help out others can make. A few years later, I got to high school and continued to make every effort to volunteer. I joined my school’s Rotary Club, dedicated to community service. I tutored Somali youth in English and Math. I volunteered at a torture abolition agency and was so inspired by their work that in my final year of school I sponsored events at my high school to educate people about torture and held fundraisers to donate to the agency.
Until my sophomore year, life guarding at my local pool consumed most of my summer. Following my sophomore year, I began to search for internships that would allow me to do something I loved and eventually found an internship opportunity with Isaiah House, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting people experiencing homelessness with psychological issues. Unfortunately, without any money, I would be unable to work at Isaiah House and would have to go back to life guarding. This would be very disappointing for me as I knew life guarding was not what I wanted to make a career out of.
It was at this point that I turned to Northwestern for help. The Northwestern Career Advancement Office started offering grants to students pursuing unpaid internships a few years ago. The only thing stopping me from accepting the internship of a lifetime was money, so I applied for a Summer Internship Grant (SIGP) following my sophomore year, and along with hundreds of other students, was awarded $3,000 to pursue my internship with Isaiah House. At Isaiah House, I pursued a passion, working with homeless people and testing life as a social worker. Without the grant from Northwestern, I would never have been able to intern at Isaiah House. After working at Isaiah House, it has become clear to me that community service and social activism are not just activities I enjoy, but are activities I would like to integrate into my future career choices.