On my first day I walked into the MAG America office headquartered in Washington D.C. completely unaware of what I'd be doing and who I'd be working with. I had zero job experience and all the wrong expectations. It only took me about three hours to realize the corporate world isn't as intimidating as it seems and that I was really lucky to have found MAG.
At first I just tried to be as helpful as I could for anyone who had a little extra work laying around that they had been "meaning to get to," but instead of throwing papers at me the staff at MAG made a real effort to teach me about the work they do both individually and their cause as a whole. By the end of the first week I had already learned more than I thought was possible about the MAG organization, countries in need, bombs, cluster bombs, and more bombs...
Thats me in the middle at MAG America's 3rd Annual Golf Open, we raised over $10,000 dollars!
But in all seriousness it really opened my eyes to a cause I hardly knew existed.
I also got to see what a "real job" is like and MAG gave me a great experience becoming a place I looked forward to going to (even commuting to) every morning. Getting to see all the behind-the-scenes work is something I wouldn't have been able to do as just a follower of their cause. So much goes on from a business and planning standpoint that gets overlooked by the average person: managing all the grants, dealing with budget cuts, achieving more money for countries in this economy, setting up the website, planning events, thanking supporters, trying to acquire new supporters, keeping in touch with MAG international, reaching new countries, updating the social media, organizing and keeping all the records, and for me working hard to try to understand the vast number of acronyms used in casual conversation. Even traveling to affected countries is a huge part of what the people here at MAG do.
Though most people don't get to see that side of MAG, the side people do get to see is truly amazing because of the impact is has on local people. Going into a country and clearing out the landmines and weapons doesn't just provide relief to communities nearby; it clears land where schools, hospitals, and wells can be built that leaves a lasting impression and changes lives. Hence the motto "saves lives builds futures." Those in the community who are taught to do the demining are provided jobs, which also helps out the local economy. Everybody wins.
Aside from learning the effects of MAG, I've also learned the hierarchy--the different levels of officials, bosses, and managers of the whole organization as well as the office system here, but instead of having me bow down to the status quo I was included in the staff meetings, lunches and events, which made me feel like I was really a part of the group even though I was only here for three weeks (and basically below the status of an intern). Maybe because MAG is a non-profit humanitarian organization kind people by nature end up working here or maybe everyone who works here is just incredibly friendly, either way the whole staff is wonderful and so much fun to get to know.
I had a great time at MAG America and will miss it so much!