Waiting for the Weekdays: 2016 in Review

Growing up, I often heard the expression working for the weekends. As a student, I more than understood what this phrase meant. The week was tough while the weekend was fun. However, my experience with Communities In Schools (CIS) has caused me to rethink this commonly heard saying. Why wait for the weekends, when weekdays are exciting?

My fellowship began on August 1, 2016, and from the moment that I walked through the door, CIS greeted me with incredible support and compassion. Employees whom I had not yet even met had sent me emails to welcome me to the organization, staff members in the central office greeted me by name, and my two bosses wasted no time marking sure that I had everything that I needed to be successful.

When I started with CIS I knew that I would have the opportunity to wear many hats. As the assistant to the Finance and HR departments my responsibilities ranged from onboarding new employees to helping people request funds for their programs. Coworkers wasted no time figuring out where my passions lay, and they worked tirelessly to provide me with opportunities to learn and grow. In the last few months, my coworkers have given me the chance to lead training sessions, create presentations, help with the volunteer program, learn about advancement initiatives, and participate in trainings. Also, as the resident tester of new technology, I have had the opportunity to do professional development trainings on leadership and finance. These courses prepared me for the work that I do every day.

I would be remiss to not mention all of the people who have served as mentors since I arrived at CIS. Bosses and coworkers have taken the time to explain tasks, learn about me, and discuss their roles at CIS. These discussions have helped me to gain a better understanding of how CIS operates, and the role of everyone within the organization, which is important as a member of the HR team. One of my main goals when I joined CIS back in August was to learn about how a nonprofit operates. In other words, what does it take for a nonprofit to operate effectively? My coworkers took the time to learn about my interests and have gone out of their way to help me learn and grow.

While this blog post focuses on my experiences, I would be doing a poor job expressing the incredible culture of CIS if I made it sound like the support I receive from the organization is unique. Every member of this organization devotes themselves completely to serving each other and the people in the community. In recent years, our Executive Director, Molly Shaw, has led the push to strengthen CIS’s culture and the bond between employees. We have had a chance to participate in a gratitude exercise, a holiday song competition, leadership style survey, and Halloween themed event (see earlier blog post). All of these events have given staff the opportunity to learn about each other, which has helped the organization to feel more like a family.

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