I’ve always had an aspiration to spend my life serving underprivileged populations. In college, I decided becoming a financial literacy teacher is how I wanted to fulfill this aspiration. As my adviser, Dr. Debra Bolton, and I began to plan for my internship, I was looking forward to experiencing the community of Garden City through teaching financial literacy courses. What I did not anticipate were the wide range of experiences that have nudged me to understand underprivileged populations more holistically, beyond the narrow focus of financial literacy education.
June 29 brought the fifth week of my internship to a close. A major project of my internship is working under K-State Extension Specialist Dr. Debra Bolton to carry out a public health assessment of Gray County, Kansas. The goal of the survey is to determine community assets and needs in an effort to help human service and education providers more effectively serve their community. I am also working with the non-profit LiveWell Finney County, through which I am teaching a financial literacy class at a neighborhood learning center and helping write a grant application.
My goals for this internship include communication, networking, and organization. Working for two separate agencies presents communication challenges. A goal I set for myself is to effectively manage my time between Extension and LiveWell. I will achieve this goal by checking in with my supervisor on a daily basis and setting a time at the end of each week to assess my progress with responsibilities in each agency. Additionally, I set a goal of meeting as many Garden City community leaders as possible. I will achieve this by attending the June and July meetings of the Garden City Cultural Relations Board, Garden City Community Council, and Finney County Health Coalition. Lastly, I set a goal to organize myself professionally. I will achieve this goal by consistently using Outlook calendar to organize professional responsibilities and commitments.
I came to Garden City with an aspiration to serve underprivileged populations through financial literacy, and in my few weeks working in the community I realized I came with too narrow of focus on how I can be of service. My experience with carrying out a public health assessment and assisting with a grant application continue to show me that you cannot fit community needs into neat separate boxes on a checklist you will finish by Friday at five o’clock. Both K-State Extension and LiveWell Finney County have challenged me to think critically about the interconnectedness of all human needs and modeled an approach to serving the community in a holistic manner.