Intern Makes an Impact Through Work with Nonprofit Organization

January 19, 2023 The Washington Center

Intern Makes an Impact Through Work with Nonprofit Organization

Supported by a scholarship from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, Sarah’s internship at Offender Aid and Restoration generated meaningful change in the lives of individuals who have experienced incarceration.

Where are you interning and what are some of your responsibilities there? 

I am a reentry intern at Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR). We are a nonprofit organization that focuses on assisting individuals who have previously been incarcerated or are currently incarcerated. As a reentry intern, I have provided our clients with employment application support and resources such as cell phones, hygiene kits, transportation access and other needs to aid their lives following incarceration. I have also served as an OAR representative on weekly court visits to represent our clients and ensure the judge has the most up-to-date information. 

Tell us about a project you worked on during your internship that was your favorite, the most challenging, or the most exciting. 

I’ve had the opportunity to work directly with individuals and support their lives. One of my clients had a violent charge on his record, which prevented him from getting a job. He would often call me, saying “Ms. Sarah, I just need a job” or “I haven’t heard back from that company, Ms. Sarah.” It was very difficult to help him keep a positive mindset and have faith in himself to get a job. As we continued to work on job applications, he finally got an interview at a grocery store. He ended up getting the job, and the joy in his voice on the day he called me to let me know was something I will never forget. 

As the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Solutions, the Motorola Solutions Foundation focuses on giving back to organizations that are creating safer, equitable and more thriving communities with a priority on underrepresented populations. We are so proud to partner with The Washington Center to support the passionate, driven and intelligent scholars this semester, and we look forward to seeing the positive influence these individuals will make on the public safety industry and the world at large.

Karem Perez, Executive Director, Motorola Solutions Foundation

How have you expanded your professional network during your time with TWC? 

I try to take advantage of every chance to network. The Washington Center provides numerous opportunities to expand our professional network, including events with guest speakers, in a range of industries. In addition, I took networking into my own hands by attending events such as protests, rallies, galas and conferences during my time in D.C. I was able to connect with members of Congress, their staffers, journalists and organizers from across the country. 

How has this experience impacted your career goals? 

This experience has provided me the opportunity to see what types of jobs I may or may not have an interest in. The experience of my internship has taught me that I want to work with individuals directly, and have a direct impact on their lives. Creating and maintaining connections with community members is also something that I hope to have in my career. Working with a nonprofit, I have learned more about behind-the-scenes work, which gives me a greater understanding of how I may want to choose just the right job for my future. 


What advice do you have for students considering an internship with TWC? 

I believe a semester with The Washington Center is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, providing a professional experience to students before they enter the workforce.  There is a lot to learn about the workforce, such as time management, communication with colleagues and working with people from all walks of life. If you end up doing an internship with The Washington Center, make sure that you are managing your time wisely and keeping time for your own self-care. I always say you cannot fill someone else’s cup if yours is empty.   

How has the support of the Motorola Solutions Foundation expanded your opportunity via TWC and career exploration? 

Without the support of Motorola, I would not have been a part of The Washington Center experience and career exploration. Motorola Solutions Foundation has been an incredible supporter. I even had the opportunity to meet some of their team members, who provided positive and motivating feedback. I have greatly appreciated their continued support of my experiences, education and career goals.  


About the Author

The Washington Center

The Washington Center is the largest and most established student internship program in Washington, D.C. Since our founding, we've helped more than 60,000 individuals from across the U.S. and around the globe expand their academic pursuits into rewarding jobs and careers. We use our scale and expertise to deliver solutions that open career pathways for learners, solve recruitment challenges for employers, while helping create greater access, equity, advancement and representation.

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