SLS Summer 2020 Internships Transition to Staff Positions

September 7, 2021

Each summer, SLS runs a paid internship program that focuses on providing practical experience for students in supporting solutions for sustainable communities, while providing our partners with support and resources.  Below we highlight the experience of two students from our Summer 2020 program, whose internship experiences translated into staff positions with their internship host partner.

Rachel Dekom, (History, Science, and Technology, 2021)

My internship with Carrie’s Closet of Georgia was extremely challenging, but so rewarding. I was Carrie’s Closet’s first intern, and I was tasked with getting the newly-formed advocacy component of the organization off the ground. It was difficult, especially during a global pandemic, to start a significant child welfare advocacy push from the ground up. But although there are challenges inherent in being a small grassroots organization, it also allowed us to be more flexible than similar more established organizations. By the end of the summer, I had produced a viable proposal for a Foster Child Bill of Rights, conducted a targeted social media campaign, and begun to contact legislators to push for their support.

The effort I put in paid off, and I became Carrie’s Closet of Georgia’s first paid staff member, rejoining the organization in November as the Manager of Research and Advocacy. Since then, I have worked through a legislative session, convincing both Republican and Democratic legislators to support our bill. I’ve met with community leaders and state agency officials and run a letter-writing campaign. This job has pushed me harder than I could have imagined, but the lessons I’ve learned from this experience are priceless.

Rachel participated in the SLS Summer Internship program for two summers (2019 and 2020) as well as the SLS Buzz Course: Social Innovation for Sustainable Communities)

Anna Montgomery (Business Administration, 2022)

In Summer 2020, I had the opportunity to work for the Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) which is an Atlanta organization working to address social and economic inequality in the city. The internship gave me the opportunity to see the local, grassroots, social innovation that is happening in Atlanta. CCI is a place of support and refuge for women and men working across the city to better their communities. During the internship, I did a lot of behind the scenes work that helped keep my team and our events organized. My boss, Sagdrina, has amazing vision and goals for the team, and I viewed my role as getting to help make her visions come to life. While the summer came to a close, the need for an extra set of hands did not, so I was given the opportunity to come on staff with the organization into the fall of 2020. I was able to seamlessly transition to a part time staff position. Since I was part time, I was also able to continue taking classes part time. Coming on staff allowed me to see my projects through to completion which is more than most interns can say. Being able to look back at each event I was able to support on is amazing, and I am grateful to Sagdrina and the CCI team for allowing me to continue the journey of learning from and supporting social innovators and good troublemakers across Atlanta.

Anna participated in the Summer 2020 internship program, as well as the SLS Buzz Course: Social Innovation for Sustainable Communities.  Anna has also completed the SLS Innovating for Social Impact Program.