By Maggie Swenson
Komen Kansas City Community Outreach Intern
Coming into Komen KC, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew that Komen’s mission is something I believe in, but that doesn’t always mean an organization will be a good fit for you. I am majoring in Nonprofit Leadership at William Jewell College, and I’ve interned and volunteered at many organizations in the past. It’s hard to know 100% what you’re getting yourself into. I’ve had a lot of good and some not so good experiences with nonprofits, but interning with Komen KC has been one of the best.
Komen KC is different from the nonprofits I’ve worked with in the past because the daily work of the staff isn’t focused on providing services themselves. Honestly, coming into this, I wondered if staff working in this way would be truly engaged in the mission of the organization. I don’t wonder this anymore. I have gotten the incredible opportunity to work around people at Komen KC that are truly passionate – about people, ending breast cancer, and empowering all affected by breast cancer. I can see this passion in how hard they work. I can see it in the ways they interact with people. I can see it when they talk about survivors. There is no doubt that those at Komen Kansas City have a passion for what they do, and just being around this staff has been an inspiration to me.
I am incredibly lucky to be here. Working under Theresa Osenbaugh (Community Outreach Manager) has been an amazing learning and growing experience. Not only have I gotten the opportunity to watch her in her mission work, but she also has empowered me to work well myself. Theresa has assigned me responsibilities to take on, guided me through processes, answered questions, taught me a lot, and allowed me to work independently on tasks when I was capable. All of these things have helped grow knowledge and skills that I will definitely use in working in nonprofit in the future. I’ve also gotten the amazing opportunity to get a glimpse of what it means to be in the Komen family. Often when first coming into an organization, I’ve felt like an outsider. Even though I’ve only been here since January, I already feel like the Komen staff has welcomed me with open arms. Komen is the epitome of the kind of organization I hope to someday work with, as well as the kind of people I hope to work around.
All this is to say, I enjoy every day that I spend in the Susan G. Komen office. Originally, I had only planned to intern at Komen through May. However, I realized that I wasn’t quite ready to leave Komen and the people here. Luckily, Theresa agreed to keep me around. I am now staying on through the summer, and I am looking forward to learning and growing even more over the next several months.