Wright State interns are helping keep the wheels turning on the March of Dimes’ annual fundraising campaigns in the Dayton area.
Three Wright State undergrads—Melissa DeButz, Bethany Hudson and Sarah Throckmorton—outnumber the nonprofit office’s full-time staff of two.
Jacalyn Allen, executive director of the Dayton office, said she relies on the three Wright State interns, as well as one from the University of Dayton and hundreds of volunteers, to keep the office running and manage a series of fundraising events across eight counties.
Wright State President David Hopkins and his wife Angelia are co-chairs of the 2012 Miami Valley March for Babies, an annual March of Dimes fundraising drive that culminates on Saturday, April 28, with a walk at Carillon Historical Park in Dayton.
But Allen said her office has relied on Wright State interns for years, and she has little trouble recruiting them. “I am fortunate that the interns tend to find me,” she said.
She said the interns “do everything we do. They do data input of our 400 teams for three walk sites, mail supplies to help them fundraise, track raffle tickets, fax, email blasts, create flyers and even make cold calls.”
DeButz, a Dayton resident whose hometown is Maite on the Pacific island Guam, said she learned about the March of Dimes internship through The Wright Search, a jobs database maintained by Career Services. A senior in her final term, DeButz balances her 10 hours per week for March of Dimes with her full student load and another part-time job.
DeButz applied for the internship to meet a requirement for her mass communication major, but she said she is getting more than that from it. “After the March of Babies walk, I will have learned the planning and execution of a huge event and everything in between,” she said.
Hudson, an Organizational Leadership major from Cincinnati who wants to work in the nonprofit sector, said she applied to March of Dimes because its mission attracted her.
“The mission statement is to improve the health of babies by preventing premature birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. I myself was born three months premature, and the March of Dimes provided my family and me with the help we needed. So, I feel like I have to give back,” she said.
Throckmorton, a senior from Tipp City majoring in organizational leadership, said she too was born premature and has a passion for supporting March of Dimes and doing charitable work.
“As I get ready to graduate, the most important thing to me in finding a job is that I have some passion for the work I will be doing,” Throckmorton said. “I love going into the office, working on a task and going home feeling like I accomplished something that is going to help other people.”
Allen said March of Dimes internships provide valuable work experience for college students. “We make a lot happen with very few people and often even fewer resources. That looks very good on a resume,” she said.
But Allen thinks her office gets back more than the students’ labor. “They breathe life into the office with their different perspectives on life and especially on the nonprofit sector,” she said. “I learn as much from some of them each year as they may learn from us.”