How one internship changed the way I thought about work

I was one year out of college and one year deep into a mundane cubicle job that did little to hold my interests when I decided to take an internship halfway across the country and start my career from scratch. To say that I was terrified is an understatement, but as is the same with so many millennials, I had this growing desire to make more of an impact on the world than I was while sitting within the four beige walls of a massive corporation. I knew I wanted to work in the non-profit sector, and that’s when I came across Baby2Baby on social media.

Baby2Baby is an organization that provides basic necessities to children in need. By partnering with over 70 non-profit organizations, Baby2Baby has been able to serve over 100,000 children and that number is only growing as they set out on their nationwide endeavor. Although the company was based in Los Angeles, its influence was reaching me 1,300 miles away in my hometown. So I loaded up my car and headed to California.

With three internships under my belt already, I assumed Baby2Baby would produce the same results—a mediocre four months that would be used more as a resumé-filler than an actual career experience. I have never been so happy to be wrong about something in my life. The first thing I took note of was the employees. Each one is extremely devoted to the cause and does everything to ensure that their efforts are felt far and wide. It was easy to see that they all cared deeply for their partners and the children they served, and that was new and inspiring for me to witness in the workplace. Not only did they care for their partners, but they cared for each of their interns, ensuring that we were fully integrated and educated on all things Baby2Baby.

With an unbelievable staff and an organization in constant growth, everyday allowed for the opportunity to complete projects that I knew were making an impact and that was more rewarding than anything I had done professionally before. I spoke with both partners and donors nearly everyday and each seemed to provide more insight into how special Baby2Baby really was as an organization. Partners of the non-profit expressed their gratitude for the ease in which they were able to retrieve the items that the children they cared for desperately needed. I consistently heard their heartbreaking stories of children not having clean diapers or safe cribs, but with the help of Baby2Baby, they have been able to ease the minds of so many mothers. These stories only made me want to work harder and accomplish more.

Each month, the efforts of Baby2Baby culminates in an unforgettable event for the children they serve. The kids and parents are provided a few hours of activities, entertainment, and tons of delicious food, and then presented with giant gift bags full of clothing, diapers, toys, hygiene products, and so many more essentials. This is unanimously decided as one of the best parts of the job. There is truly nothing better than seeing a child’s face light up as they’re given a bag as big as them full of so many amazing items they need.

Six months later, my internship with Baby2Baby is coming to an end, but the profound experience will carry over into my future endeavors. I went in hoping to be the one making the impact, but found that this organization has had just as big of an impact on me. After completing so many internships that I had little personal investment in, it was incredible to be a part of a such a passionate and dedicated team who truly want to make the world a better place. As I head back out into the real world, I am only more encouraged to make every effort I can to ensure that my career is as meaningful as my time spent at this one internship.

(Images via Baby2Baby, via Shutterstock)