Near the end of my junior year I was approached by a professor who was seeking an English major to work with her sister-in-law at a local organization. I was pleasantly surprised to be considered and accepted the opportunity. I had not heard of the organization, AGAPE of North Carolina, and to be honest, I was not looking for an internship, but I knew the experience would be beneficial. I spent the summer learning and growing in more ways than I would have imagined.
AGAPE of North Carolina is an incredible organization. Based in the bustling Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, AGAPE offers a multitude of services such as foster care placement, adoptions, and counseling. My job for them was to work with Social Media Coordinator, Mona Peterman. I would write articles on varying topics pertinent to AGAPE and their mission to ensure that every child is raised in a happy, healthy, loving household. These articles would be posted to AGAPE’s website and shared on their social media platforms.
Prior to beginning my work writing I met with Mona and was given a list of suggested topics to research and write about as well as names, phone numbers, and email addresses of staff members of AGAPE and people who have fostered or adopted using the agency. I was to interview these people and write articles on what they did with AGAPE, how they became involved, and what experiences they had. The interviews were probably the most challenging part of the internship. It would begin with me sending an email, waiting for a response, which occasionally took weeks, setting a time and date for an interview, developing questions to ask, and then afterward transcribing the conversation and eventually writing the article. I spoke to a variety of people ranging from the director of AGAPE, Kim Scott, to social workers, members of AGAPE’s Board of Directors, families who have adopted or fostered through the agency, the mother of an 11-year-old who started a lemonade stand that raised money for AGAPE, and many more. One of the most powerful stories I heard was from a woman who had been adopted as a baby and recently was put in contact with her birth mother through the help of AGAPE.
In addition to conducting interviews I researched and wrote articles on the depiction of foster care on TV, discussed what people can do to help promote a positive image of foster care and adoption, and since I am an English major after all, I was able to read two memoirs by foster parents and review their works. An amazing aspect of this internship was that I had full creative license over my writing. While I had suggested topics and people to interview, there were no deadlines or strict styles to adhere to. It was an extreme help to have that kind of freedom.
Working with Mona and the rest of the staff of AGAPE was a privilege and an honor. I was able to speak with some incredibly compassionate and inspiring people who really helped me be more appreciative of what I have and opened my eyes to what I can do to help those who don’t. I learned more than I have ever known about adoption and foster care and I was able to gain valuable experience writing and editing as well as developing interview skills. More importantly I started to have faith in the human experience. It is easy to become disheartened oftentimes in situations in today’s climate. Working with AGAPE gave me hope again.
If able, please consider donating, volunteering, or promoting your local adoption and foster care agencies. And thank you to Sigma Tau Delta for supporting me in this venture with a Summer Internship Stipend.
Apply for a Spring Internship Stipend
Sigma Tau Delta offers funding for current undergraduate and graduate student members accepting non- or low-paying internships. The Sigma Tau Delta Internship Stipend is a competitive program providing a limited number of stipends of up to $1,500 each.
The internship must involve working for an “organization” while being directed by a supervisor/mentor within that organization, and the intern’s duties must be consistent with the applicant’s level of education, area of study, and career goals. Financial need will be taken into consideration in addition to internship length.
The application deadline is Monday, November 11, 2019, 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST).