First Weeks at Canton Day Care Center
This summer I was looking to work with a non-profit close to home and was thrilled when I came across SLU PIC. I had worked abroad the summer after my sophomore year and was interested in learning about the administrative side of non-profit work. The job as a grant writing intern at Canton Day Care Center caught my eye as it was an administrative position working around children. I went into the summer hoping to learn about grant writing, fundraising, and how small non-profits run their day to day operations and long-term budgets.
So far I have gotten experience in all of those things. I work alongside the Executive Director Nancy Addison, and am in near constant contact with several important board members. The first week I helped rewrite handbooks, consolidating and correcting information to make sure parents got the most accurate information about the Center’s services. This helped to give me a perspective into day to day operations and how complicated running a daycare center can be. These tasks also showed me how much dedication and passion is needed to run a small non-profit organization. Working closely with Nancy, who was constantly jumping from task to task without missing a beat, reflected the dedication I hope to have one day.
Revamping the website has been another component of my job the past few weeks, one that has been a challenge. As someone who is not tech-savvy, learning how to use website building software has been difficult, but is paying off. I am learning how to efficiently teach myself and be resourceful when learning new skills, an experience I know will prove useful in the workforce. This project has also allowed me to collaborate with a lot of the women who work at the Center through conversations about their jobs and photographing their classrooms. I have gone from the stranger who sits at the front desk and types away at her computer to a colleague. I feel I have a lot to learn from them, and I am excited to continue the process.
The part I feel most excited about is learning about grant writing. I began working on my first grant this week and am astonished by the both the process and the potential of the reward. I am learning about non-profits from the ground up, as grant-writing is typically the first step in getting projects or organizations started. The proposals I am working on are for an expansion of the existing daycare center that would double the child care capacity. Expansion is incredibly important, as Canton Day Care Center is one of only four daycare facilities in St. Lawrence County. Increasing access to childcare would not only allow more children to be in a safe environment, but will provide economic strength to an area with historically high poverty by allowing parents to return to work. I am proud to be working towards reducing child care disparities in the North County, and am hopeful that the submission of the grants will get the Center one step closer to a renovated second floor.
My first few weeks have been an eye opening experience, full of learning opportunities. Fueled by the passion and hard work of those around me, I am excited to continue my internship and continue learning along the way.