Policy, Outreach, and the Community: A Summer of Political Interning and Non-Profit Leadership Training in Louisville by Carmen Mitchell

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Policy, Outreach, and the Community: A Summer of Political Interning and Non-Profit Leadership Training in Louisville by Carmen Mitchell

  1. 1. Policy, Outreach, and the Community: A Summer of Political Interning and Non-Profit Leadership Training in Louisville By Carmen Mitchell, University of Louisville, Brown Fellows Class of 2014 Introduction • Creating communication materials for foster youth with information about college readiness; Using the blueprint, Joni and I created email templates, student-aimed brochures, business cards, posters, and graphics that could be used for the future website. My first two enrichment projects focused on general learning about nonprofit advocacy (particularly related to special education) and cultural diversity in the advocacy space, so for this summer my enrichment project goal was to gain hands-on training on how to manage nonprofit institutions and campaigns from both the executive and entry levels. • Learning about the integration of different community centers that house foster youth and the relationship between such centers and the private partners that financially support youth; Joni and I visited institutions, including the True Up headquarters, to learn about the benefits and challenges of organizational collaboration. Part Two Part One To build on my previous nonprofit experiences, for the first part of my summer, I participated in four training seminars at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, a Louisville organization founded in 1999 as a collaborative initiative between several organizations including Metro United Way, the Donors Forum of Kentuckiana, and Metro Louisville government. The four seminars I participated in were: For the second part of the summer to build on the skills and information from my CNPE seminars, I did a collaborative internship between True Up of Louisville and State Representative Joni Jenkins at Jefferson Community and Technical College working on developing outreach sessions to young people in foster homes transitioning to higher education adulthood. This collaboration is called True Up 4.0 and is a program currently in development o address foster youth needs. 1. At the Helm: An Intensive Training for New Nonprofit Executive Directors: Learning about the responsibilities of being in a management role at a nonprofit institution, and how to balance between the desires of the board and the abilities of the employees • True Up is an agency in Kentucky that collaborates with nonprofit organizations that house and support foster kids including Uspiritus, Boys and Girls Haven, Home of the Innocents, Maryhurst, St. Joseph’s Children’s Home, and Metro United Way (the fiscal agent). T 2. Board Chair Boot Camp: Learning about the property duties of someone serving as a member of a nonprofit executive board or as a committee member, as well as how to determine (from the perspective of the nonprofit director) what types of board members to select based on professional strengths and how to maintain effective communication between board directors and organization management • Witnessing state legislative policymaking at work in Frankfort and in Louisville; attending meetings with Joni to witness political interaction, including a licensing committee about contractual agreements between nurse practitioners and doctors, as well as attending meetings about topics such as pension reform, addressing elder abuse, and implementation of new educational practices in Jefferson Country Public Schools. While many of these events didn’t have a direct connection to what she and I were working on, it was important to learn about a variety of community issues directly from the government leaders who address them, and in the big picture all of these systems work together to improve the community as a whole. • rue Up chooses to collaborate with JCTC because many foster kids choose to enter community college programs due to the lower costs compared to a four-year university or a lack of preparedness for other academic programs. 3. From Written Word to Dynamic Delivery; Transforming Great Ideas into Spot-on Presentations: A clinic on public speaking and oral presentations; how to avoid common pitfalls in public speaking and how to communicate ideas clearly to the community being served 4. Nonprofit Startup Clinic: Information about the logistics of starting a nonprofit including researching whether there is a demand in the market for your idea; Paperwork, tax filings, accounting and board meeting reports; how to recruit partners who are willing to invest their time and/or financial resources into your idea. • Outside of her work in Frankfort, Representative Jenkins works full-time at JCTC on educational initiatives such as this, and I chose to work with her this summer with this program because many of the challenges faced by Foster children overlap with those faced by children with other types of special needs (medical, poverty, etc.). • Also, I wanted to have firsthand experience with how she works both directly with the young adults and how she translates that work into impact at the organizational leadership role and the policy implementation that takes place in legislature. Internship Goals and Achievements • Working on creating blueprints for community initiatives based on empirical and anecdotal data; Using data such at the statistics talked already discussed, Joni and I created an outline that would serve as the skeleton of the program, a grant/policy outline, and a base for promotional talking points Outcomes • After completing this internship, I have gained in building community partnerships and working on building successful policy procedures and lobbying them effectively. Also through the training seminars at CNPE, I have much deeper understanding of all of the less publicized but extremely vital nut and bolt details needed to manage a non-profit organization. • Through both of these experiences I have a much stronger network of civic-minded leaders in the city of Louisville, and this network will assist me in possibly starting my own citywide initiative or fully-fledged nonprofit organization (hopefully focused on Autism) or working with an already established organization as an effective contributor to the mission. • This fall I will be participating in Leadership Louisville’s FOCUS program, and after I graduate I will be studying Public Health at the University of Louisville, and I am looking forward to carrying these experiences with me to further my leadership skills in the city of Louisville.

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