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My Experience at CBTF
As I near the end of my internship at the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, I am consumed with memories of my time at CBTF and hope that I have helped the organization in some way work towards their goal of improving the treatment and life style for children who have been diagnosed with brain or spinal cord tumors, as well as their families, who have to deal with such a heart wrenching experience, and survivors, who encounter social conflicts as they attempt to restore a sense of normalcy in their lives after treatment.
In my high school, every graduating senior has the opportunity to obtain an internship in any field of interest during the last few months of the 12th grade. Throughout the internship, students are supposed to compile a collection of journal entries and research topics that somehow relate to their work. Once students complete the internship, they are required to make a presentation on their experience during the internship program; the lessons they have acquired, the responsibilities they had as an intern, or one aspect of the field that they have become familiar with.
I began looking for possible internships in February, worried that nobody would hire someone under 18 or that I would end up working at the elementary school within my school district, which is usually a last resort for those unable to secure something more exciting. I wanted to work somewhere completely outside my comfort zone, yet still relatively within my areas of interest. As someone who hopes to pursue a career in medicine, specifically a pediatrician, my initial thought was to volunteer at a hospital. However, I realized I was more inclined to take up a position where I could more directly help children with fatal illnesses. I then began scouring the internet for available internships in nonprofit organizations that benefited children in need. Being a short 45 minute train ride from Manhattan, I knew I would find a wealth of organizations that were in need of volunteers. I discovered several I was interested in, but the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation specifically prompted me to apply because of its support services that were devoted to helping such a wide range of people. There are so many programs available to anyone who has been affected by a brain or spinal cord tumor diagnosis and the organization provides an abundance of information about brain and spinal cord tumors as well.
I began my internship in mid-April and generally came into the office twice a week. The entire CBTF staff was very kind and welcoming and I could not have asked for a better environment for the internship program. I worked specifically with Development Associate Haley Askew, who always graciously answered my relentless questions about the organization as I accrued research for my upcoming presentation in June.
My duties as an intern included packaging envelopes with thank-you-for-your-donation letters and CBTF fliers as well as entering donations into the computer. I was also able to attend the 4th Annual Young Professionals Group Bowl-a-thon, which was held on May 3rd at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square. The fundraiser was so much fun and it was interesting to put faces to all the names I had typed into the computer many times to enter their donations and make them nametags. Having raised over $44,000, the event was very successful in my opinion, and I am honored to say that I was a part of it. I plan on bringing the Bowl-a-thon T-shirt I received that night as well as my CBTF name tag to my presentation.
It is with heavy heart that I reach the end of my internship, and with several knots in my stomach since my presentation is this Friday, but I feel so fortunate to have worked at the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. Anything I have ever had to complain about, any obstacles I have ever had to overcome, any problems I have had in the past seem so insignificant and infantile when I compare them to what these children and their families are forced to go through. Knowing that I have made some contribution to improve their lives is incredibly gratifying to me. Even though I know my involvement was small, I hope to have helped CBTF continue to provide such an extensive variety of support programs to the families that have been plagued with this illness.