Working for a Non-Profit While Building Your Own: Umbar’s Story

May 26, 2017 Kelley Gibson News 0 Comments
Umbar Kassa hard at work
Umbar Kassa hard at work

Our Spring 2017 intern, Umbar Kassa, as a lot on her plate. A Senior at York College of Pennsylvania, one of the founding members of the non-profit the Explorative Learning Association seeking to revolutionize education and community discussion, and now tasked with helping the Cultural Alliance spread the word about our 2017 Impact Arts Conference during her internship, I wondered what it must be like to intern for a non-profit to help further their mission while also trying to form your own non-profit organization.  So I asked Umbar to tell us. Below, her own words about her experiences here and a peek into her (very full) mind. – Kelley Gibson


Hello all, my name is Umbar Kassa! I would like to first thank everyone for taking the time to read my blog post because well let’s face it, we’re coming to dark times for the arts and humanities so reading a 21-year-old intern’s blog post might not be your top priority. I get it. I truly do. But then again I can also vouch for my dry humor and useful banter so I promise you’ll stay well entertained.

Over the last three or so months I have been given the challenge of establishing a NGO and a business, while maintaining good grades at York College of Pennsylvania and making sure to produce great content for my internship with the Cultural Alliance. And let me tell you…Who knew you could get carpal tunnel syndrome 5 times in one day at my age? I can confidently say my hands have never stopped moving (could also be due to the amount of caffeine I ingest a day). When I tell my teachers/family/friends what I’m doing they usually hit me with one of the following: Wow you have a lot on your plate, are you sure you are able to handle all of this? How much sleep do you get a night? And lastly…are you okay!? Truthfully, it’s exhilarating. The feeling of reliability keeps you on your toes. Especially when the cause is as important as spreading awareness and skills to strengthen the arts community.

While working for the Cultural Alliance of York County I have gained immense respect and gratitude for the arts and humanities. While researching other non-profits to attend the Impact Arts Conference I kept coming across the same key message they all strive to do. They wanted to build leadership skills in their communities. To be completely honest my non-profit, the Explorative Learning Association, was built on the foundation of understanding what community really means in order to also build leaders; how coincidental? It was no coincidence that brought me to Cultural Alliance, however. I would say destiny brought me to Kelley and I couldn’t be any happier about my experience (no, she’s not blackmailing me).

During the end of my internship, I began reflecting on how building a nonprofit is one heck of a job.  It also showed me that real responsibility comes along with actually caring about the work you produce. My Conclusion: I would also go ahead and say most young adults don’t have the opportunity to intern for a non-profit while establishing their own NGO. I can go ahead and say the pay off and experience are like none other. The amount of character growth is unmatched to any other challenge I’ve faced and I am extremely thankful for Professor Delle and my boss Kelley Gibson for giving me a chance to hone in on my analytical and collaborative skills.

I would also like to thank destiny yet again for bringing such a welcoming and helpful leader to show me the ropes and awesome apps like IFTTT that help make the sometimes (most times) dry statistical data, exciting and interesting. I hope you all enjoy the Impact Arts & Culture Conference June 22-24 and build more relationships like I have this semester. The world needs leaders like Mrs. Gibson more than ever. Cheers!

-Umbar Kassa

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