Five weeks have flown by, and in the blink of an eye, I’m halfway through my summer internship with ARCHI. In that time, I have been exposed to more people, topics, and projects than I could have imagined. I have researched media representations of crime and violence, created weekly vaccination reports for the Atlanta region, conducted interviews with caseworkers, attended webinars, taken meeting minutes, sent out emails, and absorbed as much information as possible. I have learned a lot, but I have also been able to meet so many passionate, motivated, and caring people who are inspirational to work with because of their attitudes towards the possibility of change.
ARCHI works as a collaborative organization in the non-profit sector. In the non-profit world, I’ve learned, to be successful, you need every type of person because each person brings a different skill to the table to help with the mission. Because of this, there isn’t just one skill that is necessary to be successful. However, through my time in the sector, I have come across a few skills that make life easier in the non-profit world. The first is a good understanding of technology and information software. Being able to easily analyze and translate data is important, and I have had to learn how to use systems like ArcGIS to make digestible maps that highlight vaccination data. Living in such a virtual space makes tech knowledge a crucial skill for anyone going into non-profit work. Another skill that is important is teamwork and flexibility. Non-profits tend to work with communities and other organizations, so they need to be flexible with other people’s schedules.
For ARCHI specifically, I want to highlight the importance of teamwork and collaboration. As a collaborative, ARCHI works by connecting partners and working with other non-profits to accomplish a larger goal of health improvement and systems change. To work in this collaborative, you need to be able to work well with others, but also take initiative to set up meetings, make connections, and bridge together different organizations. ARCHI also requires a level of willingness to learn and research new topics. The collaborative works to address issues their partners bring up, so it is up to ARCHI to get educated about certain topics to bring in the right partners for a webinar, or even a weekly meeting. Finally, a crucial skill when working with ARCHI is the ability to work on a variety of issues and stay organized. Because there are so many issues and so many different partners, you are constantly working on a multitude of projects, and keeping all the timelines organized is crucial.
Working with ARCHI has not only expanded my understanding of the Atlanta health non-profit sector but also my understanding of non-profits in general. I have a greater appreciation of the work they do, and the administrative tasks required to secure funding, create opportunities, and coordinate with other organizations. I’ve learned so much with ARCHI in these short five weeks, and I can’t wait to see what the next five have in store for me.