[Nfbmo] From the Intern Files: my experience, my gratitude, and perhaps some entertainment

Julie McGinnity kaybaycar at gmail.com
Wed Aug 3 15:40:03 UTC 2016

Hi everyone and happy Wednesday!

I have spent the last ten weeks interning at our national office in
Baltimore, and it has been the experience of a lifetime!  I wanted to
write a bit about what I've been doing here because you guys are my
inspiration in the federation.   The Missouri affiliate is welcoming,
growing, and is the best NFB family ever!  There are not words
adequate to describe how awesome it is to be a part of this affiliate.
Sad though I am to be leaving Baltimore, I look forward to returning
to Missouri for the next few weeks and hope to see many of you.

The interns spent the summer concentrating on various projects.  Of
course, we learned about all the programs that come directly out of
our Jernigan Institute.  We began the summer with the advocacy and
policy department, learning how to discuss our legislative priorities
in clear and concise messages.  Each of us made appointments with our
Congress people.  Yay Missouri...  because I met with every Congress
office for our state except one.  I even got to meet Vicky Hartzler,
Lacy Clay, and Blane Luetkemeyer in person.  I learned so much from
meeting with these offices and spending time familiarizing myself with
these priorities on a deeper level than is even expected for the
attendees of Washington Seminar.  Legislative committee, don't let me
get away with forgetting to give you a more detailed account of my
experience and what I learned about our Missouri Congress friends.

This internship teaches me new lessons every day.  Sometimes the
lesson occurs as a result of hanging up on the president of the
Federation of the Blind.  (I swear, I thought he was one of my fellow
interns playing a trick on me!)  Some lessons are practical...  Like,
have you ever cut fabric squares or stuffed packets full of paper and
other random items?  Well, it's the real deal, and so is bleeding for
the federation...  :)  (I'm not the best fabric square cutter.)

And then we have those lessons that, once learned, will always be a
part of me.  I know now the value of asking why throughout the
evolution of a process.  And I am reminded every day that the people
here at our national office support us.  If we have questions, we can
reach out and ask.  We are an organization, and we are interconnected.
And that has been the most uplifting lesson of all.

The interns have worked to build affiliates.  We have written (and
rewritten) action plans, made phone calls, drafted (and redrafted)
emails, and talked with new leaders in these places.  Sometimes this
work seems discouraging, like when you call wrong number after wrong
number.  I've been hung up on myself!  But then there's that time...
when it works, and that person connects with us.  I still get nervous
when making these phone calls, but I think that is for the best.  You
never know what you'll get on these cold calls, and a nervous brain
keeps me aware and conscious of what I'm saying.  (No, Debbie, I won't
mind helping you with phone calls in the future.)

When I look back on this time, I will remember most vividly the
experiences.  I met three incredible human beings and life-long
friends in my fellow interns.  They are my intern siblings.  We
traveled together to Philidelphia one weekend; we found a home in the
inner harbor in Baltimore.  (I almost fell in!)  When things got
stressful, we talked and ranted and then went out to Home Slyce.  One
day we had an NFB sing-along in our office (on our break, of course.)
And I mustn't forget the time I sang the Star Spangled Banner at Fort
McHenry, the place where it was written.  I'll paste a link to the
video below.

I don't write this so that you guys get the idea that I know
everything about the federation or anything.  There is still so much
for me to learn.  If I'm honest, I have to tell you all that I
continue to learn to think openly and without expectations.  Every
affiliate, and every project is a little (or a lot) different from the
other.  Our message may be simple, but showing people they can live
the lives they want is certainly not.  It's hard to see it ourselves

If you read this novel, thank you.  I miss you all and hope to catch
up with many of you when I'm back in the land of humidity and "real"
baseball over the next couple weeks.

Let's go build the federation!


Julie and William Robert

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