Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Changing the world has always been my mission and it wasn’t until I began college that I realized how important education was to that mission. As a proud first-generation college student, I grew up knowing the importance of learning and growing. Higher education was the path to a life free of worry and financial constraint that I witnessed growing up. Earning a college degree meant increasing my chances in securing a career that could sufficiently support me, but more importantly it was a chance to learn and explore the world in a different way.
My first year of college I found myself wandering aimlessly, not knowing how I could make a real impact on my community or why I was even there in the first place. It wasn’t until I took my first Anthropology class that everything seemed to make sense. Due to Anthropology’s distinct awareness of social inequalities and their avid appreciation of social and cultural diversity, majors like myself have a passion for social justice and activism. This passion led me to my first internship at the Girls Empowerment Network in Austin, Texas. There I was able to utilize my interests in a way that truly promoted the empowerment of girls as a Development Intern. It was this first learning experience that made me excited to hopefully start a career in the nonprofit world. Anxious to get involved and gain more working knowledge at another nonprofit, I applied to be a Summer Ambassador for the City of San Antonio. This program not only gave me the opportunity to develop as a professional individual, but it also gave me a chance to do something I love: working to improve the community.
Through this program I was placed at the wonderful SAISD Foundation. Here at the SAISD Foundation, we want every student and teacher to thrive in SAISD public schools and we do this by mobilizing the community to invest in our children and their teachers. Education is truly the key to success and is the reason why I am where I am today. Realizing this only made this new learning opportunity that much more special. It was a way to give back to my San Antonio community that has given me so much in return.
My time at this foundation as an Events and Development Intern has been one of the most rewarding learning experiences of my life. I not only learned how to effectively use my skills and voice in a nonprofit work environment, but I also got to do something I love. The amazing women who run the foundation are mentors I will have for a lifetime and the wisdom they shared with me will surely prove to be worthwhile. They helped mold me into a working professional and taught me the skills necessary to have a career in the nonprofit industry, such as donor relations, effective communication, data analysis, social media management, and so much more. But more valuable than the skills I gained here, were the life lessons they shared. They taught me to give more than I take, to be authentic to myself, regardless of who anyone wants me to be, and to laugh more.
As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” and the SAISD Foundation made me feel like I could really change the world.
City of San Antonio Ambassador Intern
Studies at Southwestern University