by Melanie Hogin
It has been my pleasure to serve as an Intern from Austin Peay State University representing the Social Work program this semester at the TN River Chapter. I will graduate in December 2016 with a whole new perspective of humanitarian work.
When I signed on with American Red Cross, I had no idea what an amazing organization I would be a part of and how it will forever impact my life. I walk through our office and see our principles everywhere. My favorite picture that hangs in our organization is the vision: “The American Red Cross always touches lives in new ways under the same trusted symbol.” The team here at the Tennessee River Chapter have been supportive and helped me to accomplish goals that I never dreamed were achievable.
When I joined the team in August, I wanted to help others who had been affected by disaster. I had so much encouragement from the Director, Faye Anderson, Disaster Program Manager, Larry Crowell, and the chapter team, that I was able to finish all the online training and deploy to Hurricane Hermine relief in Tallahassee, Florida. This experience was incredible. To be able to help these individuals, provide them with financial assistance, and listen to their stories was emotional at times, humbling, and created a fire inside of my soul. I saw so much devastation in Tallahassee, individuals living without power and food. I witnessed the destruction that a hurricane can do to hardworking people just trying to live pay check to pay check. People do not have the means to save for a natural disaster when they can barely provide for their family on a day to day basis. That is where the American Red Cross and the kindness of the donors create change.
Without the donors of this organization, I would not have been able to embark on a journey that not only changed my life, but changed the economic situation of those individuals impacted. At an internship, a student will focus on the task at hand which is to provide professional services, exhibit ethics that are learned throughout the program, and finalize hours for graduation. My focus is what can I do to continue my journey long after my internship is over?