Written by Jaspreet Singh – Volunteer at ACAA
When I first came to the ACAA in October, I had high hopes for the position that I had applied for. While my education in politics and international relations was important, I felt that I needed to have hands-on experience to really get my foot in the door. If there was one thing that I was worried about, it was what I would be allowed to do while interning at the ACAA. My previous internship had me do menial tasks that I felt were not challenging my skill set and allowing me to learn new things. Things were different at the ACAA. While my official title in the office was the role of a political engagement intern, I found myself having a range of responsibilities which challenged my strengths and turned my weaknesses into skills. I was tasked with a range of responsibilities, and because of it, I found myself learning a lot more about what the ACAA strived for, and what I felt I could achieve.
I feel extremely lucky to have had this opportunity, and believe that it is an experience that I will hold dear for a very long time. The variety of tasks, the atmosphere of the office, as well as the positive vibes, makes for a very wonderful working environment. I also believe that had I been at a much larger charity, I would have been limited to my role, and would not have been allowed to venture into other areas.
I have been tasked with helping to organize events, fundraise, write blog posts, help other staff with fundraising applications, and contact members of Parliament/US Congress for meetings. This is all something that I never expected when I first step foot in the office, and it is something that I think has given me more confidence to pursue careers in my field. What makes the ACAA so unique is that you are given quite a bit of responsibility in what you are doing, and it shows later on. When the events are finished and the guests are coming away with more knowledge, or when you get the email back about setting up a meeting between the director and members of government, the feeling is indescribable. There is a level of pride at having achieved something that might not have otherwise happened. The contribution made shows in the community, and there is a certain satisfaction taken away at the end of the day when we, as a team, are able to help those in need. The volunteers themselves are part of the backbone of the ACAA and it is their hard work that helps to bring about the change that many so desperately seek.
The friendships I have made while interning here I hope will last a lifetime, and the atmosphere of friendliness I have encountered is one I know I will not find anywhere else. Being able to give back to society and assist in creating such strong foundations is very rewarding indeed. In this age, when there is too much hatred for one’s neighbor, and there is war on every doorstep, it is very important to lend a helping hand where one can be given. It leads to a chain reaction, and the giving of assistance then grows to hopefully encompass every person that will ever need it. The ACAA has shown me what it means to be a person I can be proud of, to be someone who has the capability to help those that do not have a leg to stand on. Volunteering for these last couple of months has shown me the success stories that can occur when we take time out of our day to give help. It has also helped me to witness just what a difference this charity makes, not only in the lives of the people it helps, but in those that choose to work and volunteer for it. As I begin my journey back to the States, it is with this hope that one day I can come back to the ACAA and truly thank them for what they have given me. It has brought me a lot of happiness to volunteer for them, and I hope that they continue to make just as big of an impact on others’ lives as they have mine!