Prelude: A Heart of Service
The Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement has been the most comforting place on campus during my first two years of undergrad. My involvement on campus stemmed from my warm interactions with OLCE staff and student leaders. Becoming a Catalyst Leader, and working with Assistant Director of Civic Engagement Katelyn Bodwell, made applying to be a SECU Public Fellow an opportunity I could not pass. My mentors and family's confidence in my future and passions is what led me to becoming not only a leader within the School of Music, but outside my community as well. Networking with community organizations has helped me gain intrapersonal skills that have tremendously aided me in accomplishing my tasks as a Marketing and Communications Intern with the SHIELD Mentor Program.
Natural, heart-warming, and reciprocal connections have been important to me since I began my time at UNCG. Being affirmed in my worth of who I am as a first-generation biracial 18-year old was important as I entered university. OLCE has only partnered with organizations and community partners that share similar values, and Precious McKoy has been no different.
My aspirations for my internship included reaching out to youth and parents for testimonials, taking more photos and videos for social media platforms, and making updates to the website for engagement purposes. Through learning more about data analytics, I began training through Google Digital Garage to complete free courses on digital marketing and analytics. This helped me take further initiative in catering to our target audience and building leads. My aspirations for the rest of my internship would lead me to opportunities and connections I would not anticipate as I began my path of marketing for the SHIELD Mentor Program.
Exposition: Executing Leadership
In order to create a meaningful, reciprocal relationship with Precious and the program, I began taking initiative of creating new opportunities for growth in our program. Planning a posting schedule, based on analytics, to cater to our program's audience was my first ongoing initiative. My skills in Facebook Business, TweetDeck, and Microsoft Suite strengthened tremendously as I continued.
An important goal was to create a summer newsletter that incorporated a huge thank you to our sponsors, volunteers, donors and board members who made our program beyond successful during the pandemic. During May, I gained more knowledge of the program, and began to really embody our mission of strengthening, helping, inspiring, and encouraging leadership development through my work of marketing our program. This inspired me to work hard for the youth I was serving in order to bring more youth in who could use this program to strengthen not only them as leaders, but future change-makers in our community.
To further our initiative of recognizing our donors, I created and revamped our Donor tab on the website. On the Donor page, you can easily access Amazon Smile, Our Supporters, and Giving Levels. This provided information of past and current donors, and offering an easy way to donate to each of our giving levels.
Contacting parents and youth to gather testimonials became an ongoing initiative I aimed to accomplish. Before starting our new content, I began gathering materials to repurpose since there was so much to be shared from 2020 leading into 2021. Thus, #RewindWednesday was born. A month long series that captured content from our 2021 Award Ceremony. Within each video, is a story and/or testimonial to be shared from our SHIELD Community. It was a great learning experience of re-establishing and strengthening my iMovie skills whilst gaining experience in Youtube Studio.
During our weekly meetings, an idea of having a day camp to gather testimonials and see our youth became a possibility. Due to my experience in Adobe Lightroom and photography, and with Precious' experience in videography and iMovie, this camp began to became a reality. From my experience of being a camp counselor and attending day/overnight camps growing up, I had an idea of the structure when planning. Contacting families, creating our schedule, and planning for materials needed were the first steps. Creating a video out of my experience was important for not only my internship, but for my own personal memoir of achievements as well. Below, is a short video and pictures of our Videography & Photography Day Camp.
Development: The Pathway to Success
After our first successful day camp, our youth exclaimed their excitement for our first day camp in hopes for a part two. Scheduling our second day camp in the beginning of July gave us more leeway for planning, and bringing in a professional as a guest speaker. Our youth had much more time to create, participate in professional development, and give testimonials. A video of our youth testimonials are included below:
Planning two day camps aided me in gaining much experience of what this organization is doing for our youth, especially after hearing their testimonials. Included below, are some highlights of our Videography & Photography Day Camp!
As my internship came to a close, our Summer 2021 Newsletter was published! I was incredibly lucky to use my craftsmanship in creating a new template for future newsletters in Canva. Here's a sneak peek of our newsletter, SHIELD Amplified:
The Recap: An Unlimited Future
What are my memorable accomplishments?
Our Summer 2021 Newsletter is a huge project I am most proud of. Our newsletter, initially starting with an outdated template, was revamped into SHIELD Amplified. Creating a template, next to publishing our Summer 2021 newsletter, was incredibly important in order to leave a lasting effort in leading into a new quarter. Our newsletter gave our board members, sponsors, volunteers, and donors a small way to be recognized whilst showing the great work SHIELD has been accomplishing. Next to publishing the Summer 2021 Newsletter, was creating a more prominent & consistent following on our social media platforms. On Instagram, I raised our reach by 124.4% compared to the previous quarter. I enabled our organization to save money by increasing our organic reach by not using Google or Facebook Ads, as done in the past. By publishing over 25 posts within the quarter, traction increased tremendously, which was not seen on the platform previously. Lastly, in gaining more reach on our platforms, we saw an increase in applications for mentor and mentees for our upcoming SSLA Fall program. Previously, our outreach was not as prominent during the summer months, making our recruitment season rushed. However, due to a revamp of marketing efforts, I successfully recruited new members and volunteers.
What is my biggest takeaway?
Change takes time. Using Microsoft Planner when planning major projects was completely new for me. It enabled me to manage my time in the present, and also look ahead. There were moments I would wish for the next week, or month, to arrive because I was excited for the next step in the process. However, it was incredibly rewarding to watch all my small steps, such as gathering materials to write section by section of our newsletter, come together in the end. It was a learning experience that will definitely stick with me as I begin to build my teacher identity, and what that means when lesson planning in the future.
What are my future aspirations?
Making an impact, in the smallest of ways, is my large, overarching goal I hope to achieve. Teaching music is only one step in the process of completing my aspiration. Since becoming a Spartan, I have accepted and created opportunities to live by our motto of service. Continuing to serve, in whatever capacity that may be, is my current goal I intend to upkeep. Here's to new challenges by choice, reciprocal connections, and new beginnings!
Thank you Precious McKoy, SECU Public Fellows Program, and UNCG OLCE for making this internship a possibility. I am so thankful to be part of something that is making a difference in the Guilford Community. Thank you.
Left: Photographed by James Hamilton-Lugo