When I applied for Challenge Detroit, I was under the impression that all the host companies were nonprofit organizations, just like the ones we work with on our challenge projects. Considering I have a minor in ‘Nonprofit Leadership’, I was excited to continue working in philanthropy.
I have been involved with nonprofit organizations to some capacity since I was about fourteen years old. I love volunteering, coordinating volunteers, and project management is my JAM! I enjoy working with nonprofits because they are dedicated to helping their community grow and thrive and I wanted to be a part of that narrative in Detroit.
The interview trip was the first time I was introduced to, my now host company, Goldfish Swim School. I had a great interview with them but was slightly disappointed to learn they are a for-profit organization. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that considering I had my heart set on continuing down the nonprofit path; it is what initially drew me to Challenge Detroit in the first place.
After getting to know Goldfish, the staff, their mission, and what they stand for as a company, it is easy to see why they are a part of the Challenge Detroit family. They are passionate about teaching children how to swim and they were built around saving lives every day. I am fortunate enough to work with an amazing group of people and I am excited to help this company build their communication strategy to support franchisees and to help them spread the word about water safety and a love of the water.
If you are considering working with Challenge Detroit, know now that not all host companies will be nonprofit, and that’s OK! Companies and organizations from all around the metro area are invested in Detroit and see the value in hosting a fellow. They understand the work you do on challenge projects is just as valuable and important as the work you do for them. They invested in Challenge Detroit, and in you, because they believe in giving back to their community even if they are a for-profit company, and that’s what really matters the most.
Also, no matter who you work with, you will still…
- Get paid.
- Gain valuable experience with your host company.
- Learn from each nonprofit your challenge projects are with.
- Get to spend a year learning about and enjoying Detroit.
- Have trouble explaining exactly WHAT Challenge Detroit is to outsiders (keep practicing, it gets easier, I promise).
- Gain numerous connections you will be able to network with this year and beyond.
- Do work you are really EXCITED to do and put up with the tasks you have to do (welcome to the real world!).
- Have inside jokes that are only funny to you and your coworkers.
- Get to hang out with about 30 new ‘instant’ friends; you know, all those other beautiful crazy souls out there that decided to do a program like this.
- Have one of the coolest years of your life (which may or may not include dressing up as a mascot for a day…think of it as a right of passage…or at least allow me to believe that).
<— Yup, that’s me.