Though I am based in the Houston office, I first became fascinated by UNICEF and its mission when I traveled to New York. Standing in one of many busy intersections of Manhattan’s United Nations Plaza, a large picture of a child with the word “HOPE” written above caught my eye and stood out among the buildings and storefronts. Recognizing UNICEF as the name of the organization, I instantly thought to myself – how cool would it be to work for an organization that helps children thrive and listens to their voice in shaping a better future for the world?
Several months later, I applied for the UNICEF USA Community Engagement internship and was excited to receive an opportunity to work at the UNICEF USA Houston Regional office. On the first day, I still wondered what community engagement meant in terms of UNICEF USA’s work in Houston. However, my question was answered within the first week of my internship when I was presented with a profound opportunity to share information about the UNICEF Kid Power program with teachers from across the nation, at the Get Your Teach On conference. Here, I gained first-hand experience with engaging elementary school teachers and getting them interested in UNICEF Kid Power.
Thereafter, I began working on developing a marketing plan for HYouston DiverCity Festival by UNICEF. I performed a market analysis of similar events in Houston and reached out to organizations to establish collaborations for the festival. In addition, I assisted with City of Houston’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative project. The overall goal of the project was to help develop strategies to make Houston a more child friendly city. As an intern, I had the opportunity to analyze survey data regarding children’s safety, inclusion, and voice in neighborhoods across Houston. After completing the analysis, I compiled a report with recommendations about how to create safe, inclusive and child-responsive communities. Being able to put together an evidence-based program plan had been a dream of mine, and this experience provided the perfect opportunity to do so.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, my experience with UNICEF UNITE community events was cut short, but I had the privilege of continuing my internship through a variety of activities and projects that could take place remotely. Through a series of webinars that I attended, it was amazing to see the UNITE community across the U.S. come together over Zoom meetings and discuss fascinating topics, including the current pandemic, UNICEF UNITE, climate change, civic engagement, and what our new UNICEF USA President Michael Nyenhuis has in store for the organization. I also had a fascinating experience learning about tools such as Power BI, Silverpop, Salesforce and Asana that are foundational in managing the flow of data and communication for a large nonprofit organization such as UNICEF USA.
In addition, I continued to complete marketing work for the HYouston DiverCity Festival. However, one of the most impactful projects that I had a pleasure working on during this stay at home period has been the launch of the #CreateForUNICEF initiative. #CreateForUNICEF offers a way for individuals to channel their energy positively by using creativity to produce something and dedicate it to young people in the world.
My time as a UNICEF USA intern is now over, and as I reflect on the past couple months, I am grateful for my internship experience as well as greatly appreciative of all the work that UNICEF has been doing during these uneasy times. Being an advocate for children around the world is something I hope to continue, and I look forward to being part of the UNICEF UNITE Council. If you are excited to join the Houston UNITE team, please sign up at unicefusa.org/unite or contact the Community Engagement Associate for the Southwest Region, Olivera Jankovska at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Regional Office at email@example.com