When I began my internship at Girls Inc., I’d open my email to jackpot after jackpot. “Cupcakes from a volunteer.” “It’s national donut day!” “Leftover cookies from last night’s event.” I ate it all: the cupcakes, the donuts, the cookies—even the occasional banana at staff meetings.

farewell

But, this internship gave me so much more than food. It fed my little activist heart. Over the course of this summer, I have written blogs, compiled e-newsletters, and maintained our social media presence.

All three of these tasks required me to invest in the status of girls. Even though I already followed legislation related to women’s health, equal pay, representation of women in the media, and more, at Girls Inc. I suddenly had to sift through news articles to find the most relevant and noteworthy topics for our cause and our followers.

One day this meant showing off a new Game Developer Barbie. Another day, it meant sharing a new app to help girls start coding.

For this internship, I had to think outside of my own needs and consider the immediate needs of our group. Before this internship, I considered myself a compassionate person, ready to fight for a good cause. Now that I have completed this internship, I know compassion shouldn’t be a top-down approach, but rather a collaborative one where everyone’s needs are taken into consideration and valued.

Attending the 2016 Touchstone Awards reinforced my commitment to women and girls. All four Indianapolis Honorees were inspiring, and Sally Herrholz summarized my experience here perfectly: “At Girls Inc., I learned to be strong, smart, and bold, and that made everything else possible.”

My time at Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis has come to an end, but my commitment to girls has not. I’m ready for a new challenge. Hopefully, it involves good people, good values, and good lessons.

I’m going to miss this place. After all, they gave me purpose and food. What more could I ask for?