Susan Saffari ’18 is taking what she has learned in the Centre College classroom and through previous internship experiences and is applying it to her current summer internship at the Spanish Education Development (SED) Center in Washington, D.C. as a communications and development intern.
The SED Center is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing bilingual academic programming for adults and children in the area. Classes offered for adults include English, computer and GED. A variety of classes are available for children, starting as young as infants up to pre-kindergarten. The families in the program come from a low-income background, and many are immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries.
“So far, I have mostly worked with the communications team and other office administration to help implement effective outreach methods,” Saffari said. “My tasks currently include writing and creating bilingual content having to do with the SED Center’s mission to upload on their different social media and online platforms. I also assist with creating and publishing marketing materials such as blog posts and newsletters.”
In addition, Saffari works with the administration to improve donor outreach and research other potential donor opportunities. She has also been able to volunteer in the pre-kindergarten classrooms, reading to the children and going on field trips.
This opportunity was something Saffari was immediately interested in, because it combines her interests in social services and Spanish.
“I knew that I wanted to work for a non-profit that focuses its efforts toward community engagement and outreach to a diverse population, but I was also interested in an internship where I could directly interact with the people that the non-profit served,” she said.
During her internship, she hopes to gain a better understanding of what goes into running a non-profit organization, while also hoping to expand her knowledge and experience with communications and marketing.
“Ultimately, my goal is to learn more about the different people that come to the SED Center, build relationships with them and do work that contributes in some way to their lives,” Saffari said.
Prior to her internship with the SED Center, she has worked with non-profit organizations like the Secretariat Center and Kentucky Refugee Ministries.
“Through my other internships, I’ve gained experience in areas such as donor outreach, communications and community outreach,” she said.
The classes Saffari has taken at Centre, combined with her study abroad experiences, have helped her prepare for this internship.
“Through my various Spanish classes at Centre, I have been able to improve my written and oral communication skills in Spanish, which has greatly assisted me in creating bilingual content for the SED Center and communicating with patrons,” she added.
While studying abroad in Spain, Costa Rica and Panama, Saffari has had the opportunity to learn about different cultures within Spanish-speaking countries. This knowledge has helped her interact with the people who come through the center that are from different countries, which has ultimately helped her form better relationships with them.
“I am very appreciative of the opportunity to use what I have learned in my classes at Centre and apply it in the real world,” she shared.
After Centre, Saffari would like to work short-term for a non-profit organization like the SED Center that does community outreach and programming to better address and meet the needs of different populations in a community.
“I am incredibly thankful to get to have this internship experience in D.C., which would not have been possible without receiving funding from Centre,” Saffari said. “Getting to work at an organization like the SED Center, which does such meaningful and impactful work, is a great and humbling opportunity for me to learn about a diverse population and the challenges they face when navigating a community like our nation’s capital.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
June 27, 2017