Updated: Jul 25, 2019
I selected the Hospitality House because I have volunteered there as a requirement for a class and ended up really enjoying the environment. I enjoyed seeing the smiling faces of the residents and all the stories they had to tell. Volunteering there was an extremely humbling experience which is why I knew I wanted to spend even more time there. I have a couple of friends who have different majors and minors (sustainable development, communications, etc.) who did their internship there and loved it. As a Studio Art Major, I wouldn’t have minded utilizing my hours at a gallery but something in my gut told me I needed to be there with the residents and staff I met. They were so welcoming and so fun ever since day one. I also knew that my internship was the last requirement in order to get my minor, so I wanted to spice up my future experience at a place with diversity within the interns. My love for art is unconditional, but I think senior studio was burning me out and I wanted something that was out of my comfort zone. Hospitality House has such a strong reputation for interns because they offer such an impactful, hands-on experience that they all get to learn from. I believe that some internships don’t let their interns do as much as they deserve and I made sure to avoid that at all costs when I started applying to local nonprofits.
I never really disliked group projects, but they were also never my favorite. I enjoyed working with my intern team because we all had a really good energy that got things done quickly and efficiently within the Thriftique. I learned that I truly appreciate group projects if no one is dragging their feet and everyone is holding their own. Hospitality House did a really great job with selecting the team and I can tell that they definitely look for interns who are very friendly, enthusiastic, and hardworking. I think they also looks for “people person” types because of all the social interaction that is involved with most of the tasks at Hospitality House. I learned that I am also okay with working solo, considering there were some shifts where I was by myself at the Thriftique.
One of the other projects I helped with at Hospitality House is the “Cultivating Change Garden Campaign.” I worked with garden intern Andrea, along with a group of high school student that are a part of the program "Upward Bound". Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families. They come by during the summer every year to help with the garden at Hospitality House. We usually spend a couple of hours composting the weeds that grow in the garden, and this gave us all an opportunity to get to know each other while actively making the garden even more healthy and beautiful. On my last day of interning, we are holding an event called "Pick-Your-Own-Herb Garden" where we will be building a garden bed with Upward Bound. Food Pantry clients can pick fresh herbs for their food boxes out of this bed, located right at the pantry entrance.
My overall experience at Thriftique/Hospitality House was a humbling and eye-opening experience. I wish I could’ve been at the Hospitality House even more with the residents because of the stories they had to tell while I was a volunteer, but I’m happy that I got to help out with the Thriftique during its last weeks of existence. It has been around since 2013 and the staff was pretty disappointed that we couldn’t hold onto it any longer. It was such a strong project for the Hospitality House and I’m very grateful that I got to be a part of it. I would definitely recommend the Hospitality House to anyone who is looking for an internship, job, or even a long term career. They are such great people to work with and it’s so beautiful to see the community support those in need. Hospitality House has such a strong voice here in the community by constantly connecting with other local non-profits. I hope to maybe work with a non-profit like this again because I feel richer in empathy and love, and I am a true believer that money could never replace the feeling of helping other people.