Hello CCCN Community!
With a full heart, I am writing my final blog post as a CCCN intern. My amazing journey bloomed last spring and now concludes as we close in this year and welcome the new one. Over the last year, the experiences, and relationships I have fostered through CCCN have helped me grow in ways I would have never imagined. I am beyond thankful to be part of the CCCN community and the support they have given me. To learn more about me, what led me to CCCN, and my spring internship, read my initial blog post.
As I interned with CCCN this past Fall, I was focused on completing my senior capstone project for my Bachelor in Public Health degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The senior project requirement consisted of 200 + hours of project-based internship work. As I had an established relationship with CCCN and a connection to their mission, I knew I wanted to dedicate my time to interning with them again. During my spring internship, when Susannah Brown M.S. was a CCCN director, we saw the urgency of a virtual directory on the Central Coast, and decided that we would form a team to complete this project before the year's end (read my previous blog post to learn more about the virtual birth and wellness directory).
With my public health background and connection to the community, I felt capable of taking on the responsibility of the directory and understood the importance of bringing awareness to and expanding health resources in the community. As an organization, CCCN stands to inform, educate and advocate and aims to expand awareness and education through programs and services by increasing access to resources. The directory is a resource that supports access to health-based decision-making for individuals and families on the Central Coast.
Over the course of my internship, there have been many components that contributed to the development of the directory. I have developed new skills with these different components and strengthened the abilities that I came into my internship with. My website design and media skills were expanded by making adjustments to the CCCN website, creating educational infographics in Canva, and designing social media posts to be shared with the CCCN community. I also developed upon my research abilities by designing an initial survey to be sent out to the community. I spent time assessing and analyzing the responses to understand the communities needs. From a public health lens, by truly understanding the needs of a community, we could create a resource that would actually be beneficial to supporting and improving their health. I felt further connected to the community I was working to help by hearing how I could support them.
My internship and project also exposed me to new experiences and opportunities. I was able to attend community events alongside prominent community members that raised awareness of other public health issues (my FFAP blog post). These influential community members supported my project and recognized the importance of providing a resource like a directory to the community. By connecting with community members like them, I was able to bring awareness to the issue that the project was addressing and receive reassurance that my project would help make a change. During experiences like these, I felt that my voice was being heard and that I was making an impact in the community.
Something that was also profoundly impactful was the opportunity to develop healthy habits. From the beginning of this Internship, we focused on exploring the 7 Healthy Habits of Highly Effective People, and on purpose-filled and impactful work/life decision-making. Each week we had a habit of the week to focus on and as the term progressed, I grew into the leader of this segment of our work and began sending out the habit of the week to our group and making other important leadership and teamwork decisions. Previously we had also worked on defining our personal, professional, and academic mission statements, vision, and values. We also previously made vision boards and discussed how to grow and enjoy the journey we are on. All of this work contributed to me being a more well-rounded leader and team player in this nonprofit, in my courses, and in the community.
Interning for a non-profit organization was also a new experience. It was my first time working for a non-profit and having a designated role in an organization. I felt a shift from my Spring internship to my Fall internship with the responsibilities I was given. In the Spring, I came in wanting to further explore my passions for infant and maternal health as well as health education. In the Fall, I felt that I now had a role that contributed to the growth of the organization and could make an impact on expanding awareness of health resources. Although there was more expected from me with these new responsibilities, I felt ready and supported. Just as I was driven by passion, working for a non-profit I saw that those supporting me were also driven by passion and a desire to make a difference.
The support and guidance from CCCN have helped me grow in many professional and personal ways. I have deepened the passion I came in with, and have seen how endless the opportunities to explore this passion can be. I feel capable of chasing after what I want and standing up for what I believe in. My self-confidence has flourished, especially professionally. I feel able to advocate for what I want, but also how I can cooperate and synergize with others.
I am excited to see the directory in the hands of CCCN and the community. I feel confident that the directory is capable of sustaining for the long term; especially with the support that CCCN can provide it. The community can contribute by watching the walkthrough tour video on the directory page, where they can learn how they can use it and benefit from it. The community can also contribute by submitting information to the directory database through the CCCN website. Also, they can share the directory with friends and families, share with those who can contribute their resources, and follow us along to learn more about CCCN and all the resources we have available.
As I end my internship, I am excited to share the next chapters of my life. I will graduate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo this upcoming Winter with my Bachelor’s in Public Health. My degree will propel me into different experiences, especially in public health research and education. While my journey may take me in different directions, I plan to pursue my master’s degree in nursing. With this degree, I hope to become a public health nurse focusing on infant and maternal health; or become a midwife. The guidance from CCCN has helped me think about the bountiful opportunities that my future may hold.
Just as CCCN welcomed me with open arms, I am ready to welcome the next chapter of my life with the same acceptance and excitement for what it may hold. Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this journey and revealed to me the power of community.
With warm regards,