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Intern for a Summer, Philanthropist for Life

My summer of working with The Spartanburg County Foundation began in a way I never thought imaginable.

Walking in that first day, I was an intern eager to learn and assist the communications officer. I came prepared and ready to work hard and gain as much experience as I could. Being a public relations major at The University of South Carolina, I wanted experience for what I was learning in the classroom. Within days of beginning my internship, the Foundation offered me a position as part-time communications associate. As overwhelming as the job description seemed to me, a twenty-year-old intern, I could not have been more grateful for the opportunity and for the Foundation seeing potential in me that I was unsure of.

I spent my first few weeks soaking in all the knowledge I could, both about who The Spartanburg County Foundation is and how they operate. Throughout the summer, I wrote press releases, created social media posts, drafted letters, organized data, and designed presentations that showed me how the Foundation’s vision has been put into action throughout the community. The more I learned, the more I realized that the Foundation is the driving force behind an insurmountable amount of change in Spartanburg County. I’ve been a resident of Spartanburg County my entire life and before this summer, I had no idea that one organization could have such a large impact on people’s day to day lives.

Earlier in the summer, I was asked what my dream job would be. I’ve always answered that question with something along the lines of “I’m still trying to figure that out,” but on that particular afternoon, the question lingered in my mind. It wasn’t until my drive home after work that I realized that for the first time, I have more clarity about what my future may hold. Working with the Foundation this summer has planted the seeds of philanthropy in me and has shown me that anyone, of any age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or background can be a philanthropist and strive to live out the Foundation’s vision of helping others achieve their human potential.

I will forever be grateful to the Foundation for the opportunities I have received this summer, and I will forever be changed by this experience. As I finish out my last few years at The University of South Carolina and begin looking ahead to a future career, there is a fire inside of me like never before, burning with a love for people. I am hopeful that wherever God may lead me in the future, I will be able to use my communications abilities and the lessons that I have learned from The Spartanburg County Foundation to make a positive impact in the world around me.

Contributed by Sara Harrell – Summer 2019 Communications Associate