I could not have asked for a more perfect internship. At Columbus Area Habitat, assisting Laura Ann Mann (Resource Development Manager) with fundraising, blogging, and community engagement and relationships is what I love doing.
This week, I created a Facebook event for our fundraiser coming up on May 8 and added a blog to the event page this week. Laura Ann suggested that by posting the blog in the event page, we may be able to generate more traffic to our blog on a consistent basis. Learning about social media, specifically blogging, is so critical in Communication.
Being able to blog at Habitat has been a wonderful learning experience for me, and it’s been corresponding with what I’m learning in my courses perfectly. In my Writing for the Media course, we’ve been talking about so many different tactics and do’s and don’ts of blogging, and I’ve been trying to use this time at Habitat to really practice what I’ve been learning.
Also, when we have great companies come out and volunteer on the job site, we try to reach out to them through social media thanking them for their time and effort! After all, without volunteer work, Habitat would not be able to accomplish its mission. I posted several pictures of B&B Beverage Co. on Facebook thanking them for all their hard work. We were able to get so much done thanks to them!
This past week Randy Couture, the former heavyweight champion in the UFC and one of the forefathers of mixed martial arts, stopped by the unit to spend the day with the soldiers and get to know what they do on a daily basis. They explained the unit’s unique and complex mission, and then gave him a tour of the shop and some ranges.
Then they let him shoot with some Olympians and national champions.
He was very cool and so honored to meet some of our country’s finest soldiers. And they were just as honored to meet him. Over the last few years these guys said they hosted Ryan Newman, a NASCAR driver; Newt Gingrich; several baseball and football players; and other VIPs. What I learned is when VIPs visit you throw out the red carpet for them because they can help spread the word about your organization and give you good, free PR. That’s a good day in my book.
This past week I got to see some of my hard work actually be put into action here at the unit. When I first started this internship the first thing I did was take some photos for branding purposes. Branding is essential for a unit like the Marksmanship Unit because they deal with recruiting so much that they have to stand out for more than just being in the Army. So many people come to the ranges for competitions and see this as the mecca of shooting is the U.S.
The military wants the best shooters coming up to military ages so they can try and recruit them. The unit is the best marksmanship unit in the military, so it only makes sense that they make a splash when hosting events. So I took photos and sent them up through the chain and now they came back and we installed them in various places, like the ranges.
I also took a bunch that depicted the unit’s mission that is now hung up prominently near the front to the most-used range.
It’s cool to look at the photos and know those are mine. Nobody else does, and that’s ok. As long as the job gets done, we are good to go.
For two weeks I visited with five high schools in the Columbus, GA area. At four of the high schools during the lunch periods I was able to set up a visual presentation and speak with student as they approached me to inquiry about my presentation. Doing these presentations, I found which techniques do and don’t work when trying to communicate to a group of people who are not completely focused on the presenter. Bold colors really catches a person’s attention and promotes the presenter. Even your stance could either welcome attention or come off as un-approachable. I found it better to stand and be ready to interact when a person approaches the best way to appear professional when trying to promote yourself, or a product, or in this case a service.
Of the five schools, one of them invited Services to the Armed Forces, to come out and speak to the individual classes for the day. I was selected to do the classroom presentation and immensely enjoyed the opportunity. I was able to present to 18, high school, science classes and really felt it was a great opportunity to practice my presentation skills. When giving the first couple of speeches I felt a little bit nervous but as the day went on I warmed up very quickly. Next thing I knew I was feeling more and more connection with my targeted audience and at the end of the day I was told I received a very high response and level of interest.
At the end of the two weeks I was really grateful to be able to use these opportunities to build my communication skills and am really looking forward to my future as a communication major.
One of my main goals going into this internship was to give Easter Seals West Georgia a presence on social media. This was a very slow process because I had to convince the directors that it would be worth their while and I also had to teach them how to operate the sites. Before we could start to build our presence on Facebook, we had to make sure that parents and caregivers were aware of our interest in possibly posting pictures, testimonies, and videos of their participant on the internet. To ensure that we received the appropriate consent, I was able to assist the directors in writing a release form to make it clear what our intentions would be. Once the directors and families were on board with becoming more active on social media, Facebook in particular, we had a meeting to discuss goals and expectations for this venture. To start off, we decided to make it a goal to post at least once a week. This might sound funny to those of you who update your social media sites multiple times a day, but this was a big commitment for Easter Seals. They were worried that they would forget to update the site and when my internship was over, that they would not know how to continue to update.
With all of the upcoming fundraising events, it became very easy to find something to post on Facebook. I have been able to share the promotional videos for the Walk With Me event, create event pages for all of the fundraisers, post pictures of the playhouses, and update everyone on the details for each event. I have been encouraging all of our friends to share every post about an upcoming event with all of their friends and we have seen an increase in the interest for these events. Social media has really proven to be a useful tool. I already knew how helpful it could be for Easter Seals and now the directors know, too!
One aspect we are currently working on is building their friends list so that more people will hear about what is going on at Easter Seals. We have asked all of the board members to send us a friend request and are now asking all of the families who have a Facebook account to find us. Eventually, Facebook will be the best place to find updates on the center and we want everyone who is touched by the work that Easter Seals is doing to stay up to date on what’s happening.
So, what will happen when my internship is over? Well, I have started to prepare for that. I am creating a step-by-step “How To” presentation so that the directors will have a place to go if they forget how to update a status or comment on a post or share a video. I have also started a file of possible topics to post on social media sites. Some of those possible topics include monthly stories of families that Easter Seals has touched, facts about different disabilities, updates on small victories that happen daily, and other related topics. The directors and I have decided that our overall goal is to keep Easter Seals on the minds of the members in our community and social media seems to be the best way to do that. We want to symbolically “open our doors to the community,” not everyone will get the opportunity to actually visit the facility, but hopefully through Facebook they will get a picture of how wonderful Easter Seals is and what we are doing to serve the local community. Please visit our Facebook page to see what’s going on, a lot of events are coming up soon and you don’t want to miss any of them! Thanks for reading!
This was a fun week interning because it was another very hands on week. Not only did I produce more audio for the shows that people in NPACE are working on, I helped record a theme song for “Tv Turnt Up”. The producers of the show had a student with lyrical talent, write a short 50 second introduction to one of the instrumentals I produced, and I then recorded him and edited all of the sounds. It was fun because it reminded me of some of the things I enjoyed doing when I was growing up. Fast-forward to today, I was a camera man for one of the shows being produced called “iNto Columbus”. I was using a GH3 camera with extra features hooked up to it like a wireless microphone and a larger screen on top. It was fun to get that experience and I felt like I was a part of something professional. I even got a chance to record Miss Columbus, Hayley Henderson.