My internship as the No Limits No Excuses Intern swiftly came to a close on the 31st of July, much sooner than my originally anticipated completion date at the end of August. However, the swift and rapid change in my internship completion date was welcomed because the reason I need to speed up my work was to accept a full-time position as the Special Projects Coordinator here at the Amarillo Area Foundation!
The shortened internship length did limit the breadth of the type of detail I could incorporate in my best practices research. On such a tight timeline and in the summer months especially, it was difficult to get a hold of secondary and postsecondary educational personnel. Nonetheless, I remained determined throughout and after 160 hours of research and approximately twenty field interviews, I presented my final recommendation to twenty one of the No Limits No Excuses partners at BSA on Friday morning.
The formal partnership gathering at BSA consisted of the introduction of our new No Limits No Excuses Coordinator, Broc Carter; highlights of how our host partner, BSA, is incorporating the mission of No Limits No Excuses into their organization; an update of our community report card, and my recommendation regarding community engagement.
The data I collected suggested that student engagement and consultation in the postsecondary attainment planning process is vital to the success of an educational initiative. Thus, I recommended that No Limits No Excuses formulate a 45 person Student Advisory Council divided into three subgroups: the high school council, college council, and adult council. Also, to ensure adequate mentorship and tangible success I recommended that No Limits No Excuses hire a full-time coordinator to oversee the Student Advisory Council. Eventually, three graduate assistants will also be instrumental in executing annual events specific to each council that foster community awareness and outreach.
What I find most exciting about the creation of the Student Advisory Council is the opportunity to really give concrete meaning to the program’s name. The implied meaning behind the title No Limits No Excuses is that the community works together to create “no limits” for the students, and “no excuses” for the community in demolishing those limits. If students are given a platform to voice their unique experiences and concerns and then see community members and leaders respond to those concerns, a relationship of mutual accountability is created, which can only be utilized for good to later deconstruct additional barriers.
I absolutely love the work I was able to do for the Amarillo Area Foundation this summer and I am ecstatic about my new role within the organization moving forward. Initially following graduation I was pleased I had an internship so aligned with my interests, but also noticeably displeased that I only had an internship and not a job or career. But I really owe Ogallala Commons for providing me the opportunity to connect with and demonstrate my eagerness to work hard for an employer that advances philanthropic efforts in the Panhandle every day. I am hopeful and appreciative when I consider my future with the Amarillo Area Foundation, and I have Ogallala commons to thank for a large part of that.
It’s true, that common saying: often the thing best suited for you is right in front of you. You just have to open your heart and mind to the opportunity. With my background and experiences I would have never guessed that I would settle in Amarillo immediately following graduation. But it looks like things are headed that way, and there is no where else I would rather be.