By Madelyn Brenner
At first, the thought of a virtual internship might be confusing or overwhelming--Will I have enough time? Will I understand the full extent of my position?---the questions are seemingly endless. But with a little research, you may realize that a virtual internship is the perfect way to balance other commitments while also gaining valuable experience for your future career goals.
Children Beyond our Borders offers what's called the Virtual Internship Program, more commonly known as VIP (because our interns are VIPs, of course). This program is "a selective program that allows individuals to get involved in an international non-profit organization" (CBOB VIP). By treating our interns as employees, they get a real-life feel for what a position in their respective field might be like, and they are able to learn valuable skills and receive advice and guidance from others further along the same path.
Virtual internships are also much more likely to fit your schedule, allowing you to complete your assigned tasks on your own time. You're also much more likely to have flexibility in deadlines, especially when a company knows you are a determined college student, balancing many tasks at once---a very impressive feat. It can also help you better hone your phone, email, and webchat etiquette to be better prepared to communicate on various formats with future coworkers, bosses, and more (Intern Queen). These internships can also prepare you for the possibility of telecommuting in the future (Internships). Virtual internships are an awesome option if you can't make a full-time commitment, but you are looking to gain experience in your field. Employees and employers alike can benefit from this mutual exchange of willingness to learn and experience to gain.
Children Beyond our Borders' Virtual Internship Program is special because it does provide remote access to our company, but it also has local events throughout each semester that can allow an intern at any Florida university with an official CBOB chapter--FSU, UCF, and UF--to participate in health fairs, workshops, tabling events and more. This interaction is a great way to see the impact each action you take has on the community around you. Even further, our interns are also eligible, as is anyone, to participate in our Bound for Peace service trips and see what our work is doing in South America as well.
Sound interesting? Consider applying to join our team! We're especially looking for those interested in Outreach, Public Relations, or recruiting for our Bound for Peace trips. Visit chbob.org/apply to send in your application today!
By Natalia Torres
Born and raised in Cali, Colombia, I quickly jumped at the chance to join Children Beyond Our Borders once I found out about it as a sophomore at the University of Florida. Leading up to my first service trip, I was thrilled about the opportunity to collaborate and travel with like-minded people to serve the youth in my home country. After the excitement of landing in Cartagena wore off (does it actually wear off though?) and I was a few hours into our first day at Granitos de Paz, I was hit with how truly fortunate I was to be in that space and that it was not something to be taken for granted.
During my time at Granitos on my first trip, I was able to witness the phrase “education = empowerment” in action in the community; within the center, at every workshop with our kids, and mostly within myself. I was able to step out of the bubble of my privileged college experience, return to my roots and see first-hand that education comes in all and shapes and sizes and it has the ability to create significant change in an individual’s life. I also realized that I wanted my efforts to go beyond a two week trip.
At the time, that looked like heavy involvement with the UF Chapter of CBOB. To this day, my group of girlfriends who I reunite with at least yearly, rely on for life advice, and feel empowered by, are the women I met on these trips and during my time with the organization (hi Alli, Candice, Maria, Supriya and Taryn!) Long term, these experiences and the passion that I felt around our mission led me to education as my full time profession. After graduating from the University of Florida, I moved to Chicago to join Teach for America as a special educator, and to this day, I work at the same high school I started at, now as an Assistant Principal.
Through Children Beyond Our Borders, I was able to have life experiences that illuminated the right path for me, and also made it clear that to make the impact that I wanted to, I had to make a serious and long term commitment as an educator. This is why I pursued my masters as soon as I started Teach for America, have been at the same high school since my first day as a teacher, and returned to Children Beyond Our Borders by joining the board a few years ago. Every day I wake up ready to learn and grow as an educator, but I know that all of these experiences are most powerful when shared, so I hope that the knowledge I’ve gained over the years, inspired by the very first time I set foot in Barrio Olaya Herrera, can serve as a resource for all the children that Children Beyond Our Borders seeks to empower through education.
Reflecting on my semester as a VIP at Children Beyond Our Borders Inc.
By Madelyn Brenner
I didn't know what to expect when I applied for a position with CBOB's Volunteer Internship Program last fall. VIP is a selective program that allows individuals to get involved in an international non-profit organization. The VIP interns are treated as employees by encouraging independence, originality, and a stress-free environment. Interns are able to apply their academic skills to a hands-on experience in the non-profit field. The overall goal is to encourage and empower the interns by providing life skills that can prepare them for a successful future. From the research I had done, it seemed like a good fit with my two majors---International Studies and Spanish---and great preparation for a future career in public service. I had no idea how much experience and knowledge the organization and program would allow me to gain and how much I would grow to love the cause and mission CBOB stands for.
In addition to my daily duties as a Public Relations and Social Media Intern, which involve posting updates, contacting other organizations, creating graphics, and scheduling posts, I was also able to grow so much as a person. By participating in local events like Health Fairs, workshops, tabling, and setting up for big events like Gala, I was able to help promote and implement CBOB's mission of providing opportunities for children and youth affected by armed conflict and social injustice to find peace, prosperity and well-being through education and empowerment. I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the purpose of our organization's programs and what it accomplishes with every action that it takes. I hope to further watch this organization succeed by continuing to stay involved as an intern, and hopefully finding new ways to promote its mission, by participating in a Bound for Peace service trip in the near future.
I can't wait to see what this organization does next, and how I am able to promote its vision as an intern! I hope others reach out of their comfort zone and join the VIP program in order to help promote education and empowerment. With a variety of positions in every field, and an assortment of opportunities to get involved throughout the organization, like Bound for Peace, Tutoring, our College Prep Mentorship Program, and more, there are so many ways our VIPs are changing the world! It's amazing to see so many people from different backgrounds coming together to promote a greater good. I would never have felt such hope and inspiration if I hadn't applied for CBOB's Volunteer Internship Program.