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October 19th, 2013 by Sean Paul Fitzgerald

My time with LEEP and the ARC (and HFH!)

The last month or so, for me, has been busy in a way that I’ve never known. Things were also made more difficult with some personal motivational challenges that I encountered and am still hoping to learn to manage appropriately as soon as possible. I’m happy to say, though, that with the help of the Red Cross team, I was able to finish my LEEP project by our deadline of September 30th.

How did it turn out?

Well in my last week we had gotten another round of feedback from the office regarding our project. There were some minor tweaks, but with an absence of any serious concerns we got the feeling that the project was ready for a “test-run”. Excitingly enough, our first official pitch would be that Friday with Nationwide Insurance—a company whose executives I was fortunate enough to meet in person and tour with throughout our chapter building earlier. Our matrix had been finalized, along with the sales decks and their very own spot on the “H-Drive” (the corporate drive in our network at the office). I played a pivotal role in the launch of our local chapter’s version of the Ready 365 project and am now handing it off to the newly assigned Relationship Manager and more experienced staff at the office to run.

 

I can say that my summer experience with LEEP and the American Red Cross was a great one—practical, demanding, and influential. By influential I aim to speak to the lasting impression the Red Cross has in both the local and global communities with every project it carries out. It is truly humbling to witness the compassion of this organization and the results it leads to in society. My experience has given me a more grounded perspective in my thoughts on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the role it will play in the future—or hopefully the permanent effect it will have on our future business world. Starting with my time abroad in Chile working with Habitat for Humanity until now, I’ve gotten a taste of how the non-profit sector operates and can appreciate the fact that they are a distinct entity in comparison to any for-profit company. Not only have I developed my own opinions and thoughts concerning the role business needs to play in society, but I’ve also gained several skills that will help me to realize my dream of fostering needed change.

On my last day, I made a couple last-minute tech fixes and had a nice talk with my residing Red Cross “boss” (which really never seems like the right word for her, in the text that follows you may see why). We talked about the summer, the project, the future, but also about me. She and the team have consistently made the effort to make sure I got what I wanted out of the internship and that mentality did not fade even on the last day. We got the chance to discuss the personal problems I was having (what I now believe to be a combination of burnout, homesickness, and reverse culture shock) and the steps I needed to take to address them. Her openness and concern was truly touching and has always made it hard for me to call her a “boss” instead of “teammate” or “friend”. I found a similar warmth in all my Red Cross colleagues and believe I will be hard-pressed to find a comparable environment anywhere else. Along with some advice, I got a card, a first aid kit (of course) and a small thank you (below) to take home. My LEEP experience and ARC internship may be one less thing I have to worry about but is still one thing I hope to remain apart of, whether it’s through Clark’s Fiat Lux Honor Society which hosts Red Cross blood drives, or on my own personal terms and perhaps future volunteer opportunities.

 

Thank you to all those who helped me! No man is an island.

Thank you to all those who helped me! I truly appreciate the experience and the support because no man is an island.

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