Introducing Danielle, CHEER's New Intern
Would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Danielle. I am currently a first-generation college senior in the Behavioral and Community Health program at the University of Maryland, College Park. I am also CHEER’s new full-time intern! I am very excited about being a new part of CHEER. I grew up in Prince George’s County, but I also have many ties to the Montgomery County area especially within the nearby Silver Spring and Wheaton areas, as my parents grew up there. In my free time, I enjoy drawing, writing music, and going on various nature explorations with my friends (not currently though because of COVID-19).
When did you officially join the CHEER team? Had you been considering other jobs or internships?
I officially joined the CHEER team the first week of December. I started out at CHEER during a food distribution where I was able to get more firsthand experience within the Long Branch community, although I am familiar with the area. I’m so glad that this was my first experience with CHEER. I was able to not only feel more connected to the community, but I was also able to see some of my fellow coworkers as well. Participating in the food distributions has become something I look forward to every week. I actually was considering a few other offers from internships in my initial search, but CHEER stood out the most to me. Bruce’s emphasis on community empowerment and engagement was what stood out to me even in the interview process. CHEER’S investment in getting feedback from the community was something that I appreciated. Unfortunately, I did not really gather much of that through my search. I feel that it is so important, that in order to foster thriving communities that these communities are heard and valued as people versus just being seen as a number in the pursuit of an organization’s mission and vision. I really gathered that with CHEER and continue to do so as I continue working with CHEER.
What’s your take on CHEER’s mission and vision? Why does this work matter to you?
I am incredibly appreciative of CHEER’s mission and vision. As I said before, I am from Prince George’s County. I am so grateful that I was able to grow up in a more diverse area. Ensuring that our communities are helped, but at the same time, understood and heard is something that is so important to me. Strong communities are built when its members strive for ongoing cultural competence. Strong communities are built when its members extend care beyond self-interest and personal gain. In addition, strong communities are built when all of its members are valued, appreciated, and respected. This is evident through CHEER’s mission and vision. This has also been evident in the work that I have been fortunate enough to see behind the scenes as well.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I am basically involved in every part of CHEER in some form. It is something that I enjoy a lot! I always feel like there is something new to do. So, boredom never gets the chance to strike when I am working. I especially appreciate that now during Covid-19. It is kind of hard to describe a typical day because of the varying nature of my internship. However, being involved in so many areas is something that I appreciate a lot as I get a lot of insight into not only community health but into running a non-profit in general as well. I truly do not think I would have had this experience elsewhere. Some things that I am involved in include the recording and participation of the management circle, coordination meetings, Long Branch Partners meetings, board meetings, health meetings, and communications meetings. As I stated before, I also help out with the Thursday food distributions. I am also currently helping out with the website, newsletter, and social media with the communications team. Helping out with the communications team is something that I am personally excited about as I love graphic design. I love having the opportunity to be creative within a work setting. So, please follow us on our socials @communitycheer! We will be doing a lot of fun and informative things with that soon. Overall, it is hard to describe my typical day, but I will say that all my days have been exciting and cheerful with CHEER.
What are the best parts about working at CHEER?
The people! I love interacting with so many people. I love hearing new perspectives on things. I also really enjoy working with people from so many different backgrounds. I am also excited and more dedicated to learn more Spanish through my work with the health team and through my interactions with the community on Thursdays. I also just enjoy the general setup of CHEER with sociocracy. I have never heard of an organization embracing this before. Especially, being just an undergraduate intern, it’s really cool knowing that my opinion can be expressed. It honestly caught me so off guard when Bruce asked for my opinions during my very first CHEER meeting ever. It has just been so refreshing with CHEER that I am not only able to share my thoughts, but I have actually been encouraged to voice my thoughts as well. Especially, since I am just starting out, it means a lot to me.
On the work front, what are you most looking forward to this year?
Besides my internship right now, I am also hoping to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) in April after taking an exam. This is a key step for me as I also intend on becoming a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) in the future as well, to honor my dad who passed away a few years ago from an ongoing battle with various diabetes-related complications. I always knew growing up even as a kid that I wanted to honor him in some form as he was one of the biggest driving forces in making sure that I was able to be the first one to go to college in my family despite his ailments. Working with CHEER and getting insight into programs such as the Healthy Food Access Program has meant a lot to me in my pursuit of these career goals. I am incredibly grateful to start out and be part of such a great organization that encompasses everything that matters most to me in not only my career goals, but my values and personal fulfillment as well.