PFO has been my passion since I first learned about it in 6th grade. I joined as soon as I could, and my love for PFO only grew as I learned more and more about what it is. However, nothing prepared me for how amazing an internship with PFO would be! I started my internship with PFO on August 1st as the first part of my gap year, right as retreat prep was getting into full swing. Immediately, I was surrounded by the infectious PFO energy again! However, an internship position was quite different than being a teen in the program. I never fully understood how much goes in behind the scenes to make PFO as awesome as it is! During my time in the office, I worked on so many different projects, from a mailing package for our GGC members to editing interview videos for our Connecting Charlotte event in November. Each task that was given to me in the office was challenging, yet the PFO staff did such a great job of assisting me when needed and helping me learn how to work different softwares and programs.
One super special experience I got to be part of was during the committee process in September and October! As an intern, I got to attend all the rehearsals for Night of Gratitude and help the teens in the committee prepare for the performance. Then, on the night of the show, I had the amazing experience of running video backstage. Getting to see the full Night of Gratitude process and then join the teen cast backstage was truly magical.
During my time as a teen in PFO, the Buddy program was by far my favorite part, and I have to say that after this internship opportunity, it still is. I had the joy of attending 5 whole Buddy events while working for PFO, and each one was even more fun than the one before it. The most exciting was probably the Creative Drama event in December where buddy trios acted out stories from a children’s book that a PFO committee had created in the fall. The joy on the teens’ and buddies’ faces as they brought the stories to life and received their own copies of the book was unforgettable. Getting to experience the buddy program all over again has been such a treat, and it reminded how special PFO is for all who take part.
I’ve learned so much from this internship – from tips and tricks in Final Cut Pro, Google Drive, and Microsoft, to figuring out more about PFO’s board, budget, and what it needs to function, to going on GGC meetings and learning about different donor relationships, to simply remembering how important basic values of Attitude, Acceptance, Accountablility, and Action are (and how important giving gratitude for these can be, too)! What’s so amazing is that not only did I learn all of these new things, but I had a blast doing so. The PFO staff, teens, advisors, buddies, everyone in the PFO family makes each day feel exciting and fun, and I always felt ready for each new day in the office.
As I leave PFO and continue on with my gap year, I’m going to take so much with me. But to me, the most important thing is compassion. PFO loves and accepts everyone for exactly who they are, and I hope to always remember that and do the same. PFO is not just a place, it’s not just a Charlotte organization, it’s an attitude and a mindset, something that we can all use in our daily lives. And while I’ll miss PFO incredibly much, I’ll be back in some way, shape, or form before you even know it 🙂
Here’s to PFO and an amazing internship, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Ella Jarrett