[Nfbmo] From the Intern Files: my experience, my gratitude, and perhaps some entertainment
gwunder at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 3 17:11:16 UTC 2016
Julie, what a pleasure to read your message. Thank you so much for sending
it. It was a wonderful diversion from working on the August September issue
of the Braille Monitor, undoubtedly the most difficult issue of the year.
It took me a long time to figure out what an ally I had in the national
office. I was never an intern, so people who worked there and worked closely
with Dr. Jernigan had to convince me that he really was approachable, that
he really did mean that he had time for all of us or at least would make it.
I do not spend a lot of time engaging and envy, but I wish that my life
experience had allowed me to compete to be an intern, to go to one of our
rehabilitation centers, and to truly be immersed in positive blindness
experiences. I congratulate you for risking to apply, for putting your life
on hold to partake in some wonderful experiences, and for pledging to see
that all of us share better lives as a result of yours. It doesn't get any
better than this!
From: Nfbmo [mailto:nfbmo-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Julie McGinnity
Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2016 10:40 AM
To: NFB of Missouri Mailing List
Cc: Julie McGinnity
Subject: [Nfbmo] From the Intern Files: my experience, my gratitude, and
perhaps some entertainment
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 National 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 sometimes.
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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