Girls Inc. has a special place in my heart. It’s the first place I volunteered long-term. It’s also the first place I started an office internship.

As I navigate college as a liberal arts major, my professional life seems distant and far removed, but Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis has helped me contextualize my future. Girls Inc. has given me more of the hard skills I need to round out my education. Updating the website, generating blog posts, writing press releases, and running social media are all useful skills, and everyone on staff is here to help me and support my growth while I learn.

On June 9th, Hazel and Nakisha, our volunteer duo, took me to IndyVolved, so I could experience live tweeting and outreach efforts all in one evening. The 2016 IndyVolved event brought together 100 nonprofits and community organizations for young professionals to get connected, get involved, and shape Indianapolis. Not only did our team sign up 50+ potential volunteers at the event, Mayor Joe Hogsett also liked one of my tweets. Needless to say, after four hours of standing on my feet, talking to community members, a little mayoral attention did me good—even if it was really his staff, and not him, liking the tweet!

The past few weeks, Shannon, our event mastermind, has asked for my help with our annual Touchstone Awards. From the playlist to the script, every detail matters. With such a large-scale event, I was ecstatic my voice and input mattered. Next Thursday, 500 attendees and 75 summer camp girls will hear my playlist—that’s some serious (but welcome) pressure.

Recently, Chantel on the leadership team thought I could handle a new intern challenge: writing the featured supporter article for the July enewsletter. Thanking summer camp supporters will allow me to learn more about both summer camp in general and the process of donor follow up. I haven’t yet dived into the development side of things here at Girls Inc., but I’m ready for the challenge.

That’s what adjusting to office life is though: a challenge. The deadlines, the competing priorities, the frozen computer screens all conspire to make me work harder, but I wouldn’t trade the challenge for anything.

Beyond office-bound challenges and work, my weekly visits to Girls Inc. summer camp have reminded me why the work we do here is vital. Photographing the girls and asking them about their camp experiences shows me how much all-girl spaces foster self-development and inspire thinking. Looking at the girls’ joy through a camera lens lets me know that this work matters.

Here at Girls Inc., I often find myself wishing the end of the day came later simply because what I’m doing matters. For the organization. For the girls. And for myself.

During my final year at Indiana University, I will continue to volunteer at Girls Inc. of Monroe County, but if I get my first job in Indy, I’ll definitely sign up to volunteer here at Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis.