Earlier this summer, during a sudden (and panicked) realization that I desperately needed a job, I stumbled upon openings for the Serving Communities Internship Program (SCiP), which pairs post-secondary students with Alberta’s non-profit organizations to create positive changes in their community. The organizations register, create and post meaningful part-time internships to help achieve their mandates, and students gain practical skills, experience and networks, along with a $1000 bursary from the Government of Alberta — a pretty sweet deal, if you ask me!
As a student, it is often difficult to find a part-time job, let alone one that you actually care about. After working a series of retail jobs throughout my high school years and most of my undergrad career, finding an internship through SCiP was a breath of fresh air.
With the volume of internship postings and the diverse spectrum of opportunities — ranging from event planning, to curriculum development, to launching marketing campaigns — SCiP is applicable to any type of post-secondary student, regardless of their academic background.
You might wonder how competitive internships must be, and you might shy away because you may not have the right qualifications or relevant experience. To that I say: try anyway. One thousand bursaries are available in each program year; theoretically, you can complete one SCiP internship for every year of your degree, explore a range of different skills and make some extra cash.
You might wonder how competitive internships must be. To that I say: try anyway.
When I began applying for internships, it took me a few days of browsing to find a non-profit organization whose values aligned with my own. Ultimately, I applied for a position at B’s Supporting Youth Foundation, a charity that hosts a peer-led brown bag lunch program every Tuesday for various Edmonton Public and Catholic schools who are recognized as high needs.
What drew me to B’s was their mandate for social justice and praxis — their lunch programs were a kids-helping-kids approach, and I was honoured to participate and chat with the volunteers and youth about the importance of what they were doing.
While I had applied for an administrative role, after my initial interview, I was offered a fundraising support position. It seemed my interviewers felt this was an area I would thrive in, and would also challenge me to try my hand at something new. Whatever skepticism and doubt I had about this position was immediately calmed when I met the lovely ladies I would now work for.
Every Tuesday morning, I am empowered to see positive changes happen with every lunch bag we make.
As a team, we outlined a contract, determined the number of hours I would need to complete to qualify for my bursary, as well as my responsibilities and tasks. Being a full-time student, I am grateful for the flexibility of my internship, with most tasks permitted to be completed independently and on my own time.
Interning for B’s has been the highlight of my year — I have, and continue to, gain so much more knowledge about the inner workings of the non-profit sector. But most importantly, I can confidently say that every Tuesday morning, I am empowered to see positive changes happen with every lunch bag we make.
Like most non-profits, B’s is 100% volunteer-run; SCiP provides an opportunity for it to take on special projects and initiatives that they otherwise would not have the capacity to do. My biggest regret is not having heard about SCiP earlier in my degree, but I hope that this will inspire you to do your own research, and help build your professional (and personal) experience. You will not regret it!
Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and viewpoints of current Arts students. Through their posts, you’ll experience the creativity and passion of our students as they present glimpses into student life. The views and opinions expressed within these posts are solely those of the authors.