For years I have been struggling to figure out what I want to do, what my major should be, and where I want to go in life. I've always been good at science so for the past year I have been an "intended mathematics and engineering" major. I figured if I'm good at something it must be what I'm supposed to be doing right? It wasn't until very very recently that I realized I'm not passionate about science. Sure, I absolutely love spending the day in a science museum and I will talk to you for hours about the wonders of physics, but the thought of having a career where I live science every day doesn't excite me.
This summer I found myself waking up on the first ring of my 6 o'clock alarm on a Saturday morning eager to get to work. I spend my Saturdays volunteering at Sent By Ravens Food Pantry, a donation and volunteer-run non-profit based in Livonia, New York. The volunteers there are so caring and welcoming sometimes they are more excited to see me home from college than my own parents. A few weeks after I had been home for summer break I mentioned to the executive director, Anne Ranieri, that I was already bored with being home and looking for my next adventure. She told me "You're going to regret that you ever said that." and proceeded to give me tasks she needed expert help on.
Most of the problems they were experiencing involved not understanding the opportunities - they had to expand the non-profit through technology: using Google apps to streamline information sharing and data processing, creating a Facebook page to keep clear and open communication with donors as well as clients, and updating the website to allow clients to sign up for our services at home before they even step into our pantry. They were all things most millennials could do in a weekend on their laptop, SBR (Sent By Ravens Food Pantry) just didn't have anyone with the know-how.
After officially deeming myself the non-profit's communications manager, I set to work to solve some of their problems. Within the first week of launching their new Facebook page, one of the posts I had created and taken photos for (to thank the girls in the photo above for doing some painting at our pantry) had been seen by over 1,500 people and was shared 11 times all by people in the community that our pantry serves. Sure it was just a photo online, and that doesn't mean all of those people will now start coming to SBR to donate or shop, but now they know we exist and maybe they will look into our services or recommend us to a friend in need. I probably checked that post every 20 minutes for 3 days just watching the views go up.
I realized that non-profits are just like any other business in that they need someone with the knowledge and passion for doing all the jobs that keep an organization running. For a split second, I thought about going into communications, but that's just not me. Maybe I wouldn't be happy in a science career but I definitely wouldn't be happy going every day pretending science isn't like, the coolest thing ever. SBR showed me that I could get a degree in something I love (like computer science) and use it for something I'm passionate about.
Thank you SBR for everything you've done for me, you have given me way more than just food... although those Panera cookies are the bomb.
To learn more about Sent By Ravens Food Pantry and what they can do for you go to our website, find us on Facebook, or just reach out to me! If you would just like to see cute daily posts from me about the great work SBR is doing, Like our page on Facebook!