In a slight departure from our traditional Heifer’s Heart, we have instead an essay written by Payton Hurst, our summer intern on the Communications team, reflecting on his time spent with us.
Today is my last day as an intern for the Communications Department at Heifer’s headquarters in Little Rock, Ark. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I showed up on my first day, but the people I met, lessons learned and experiences gained have been invaluable.
The story of how I came to work at Heifer is sort of a procrastinator’s fairy tale. I am currently studying Public Relations at Harding University, a small private college in Searcy, Ark, and one of my degree requirements is that I participate in an internship. As I am planning to graduate in May of 2013, I knew this summer was my last opportunity to fulfill my requirement. Naturally, being the responsible student I am, last May I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do for the summer.
Just when I was starting to re-think my entire college plans, I received an e-mail from my advisor informing me of the internship at Heifer. I happened to be qualified, so I sent in my resume, came in for an interview, and just like that, I went from no prospects to happily employed.
As a Little Rock native, I knew a little bit about Heifer before I started, but I hadn’t ever truly grasped the scope of their work. Much of my time this summer was spent reading and editing stories submitted from Heifer project participants, and these stories allowed me to fully understand the good Heifer is doing to help families all across the globe.
Almost every day I had the opportunity to read about farmers in places like China, Guatemala, Armenia, Uganda, and even families in the U.S., who Heifer is helping to free from the hardships of poverty and hunger. I was able to see tangible examples of people in the world who were once struggling to survive, now thriving because of the work Heifer is doing in their lives.
Along with editing these stories, I was able to meet many of the staff members here at headquarters who work behind the scenes to make these stories possible. I was able to film and edit videos, and work with social media to help inform the world about Heifer’s mission. I love working in communications, but more importantly, I love seeing how my work is able to make a difference in people’s lives.
I came to Heifer International looking for a job. I came looking for an opportunity to gain experience in the field I will one day be working, and to gain credit for an internship required of me by my university. While I achieved all of this, the most valuable thing I gained is a new perspective. During my short time at Heifer, I learned about the situation of millions of families that are fighting every day to improve their livelihood, and what I can do to help.
I will always value the work I did this summer, and I am positive the experience I have gained will help me in my future endeavors. I want to thank the staff at Heifer for the opportunity to work for such a wonderful organization, and I hope to see all of them again soon.
- Payton Hurst