Urban Adventures

April explores the city.

“You’re a true marketer, Peterson.” November 9, 2010

Filed under: Internship — April @ 8:05 pm

My supervisor said this to me today after I exclaimed the joys of conducting surveys. Talk about affirmation! I’m seriously considering marketing as a career post-grad, so this was great encouragement. This came at the end of a very eventful day: the ambulance came to The Arc but most of the staff was not informed beforehand, thus generating great confusion; someone microwaved a fork, causing the kitchen to fill with smoke and the entire building to smell vaguely of popcorn and pizza simultaneously; and I learned that one of my co-workers does drag on weekends. Yesterday the COO sent out an urgent, high-priority email warning all staff to NOT eat the cake that a client was distributing at that moment because it had been in The Arc’s refrigerator for at least two weeks.

I love my internship. Only at The Arc…


The best day. October 18, 2010

Filed under: Internship — April @ 9:25 pm

My supervisor was out of town today, so I got to spend the whole day out in the community with some of the clients. Since I am usually at my desk 8 hours a day, this was a welcome change of scenery. I absolutely adore the clients and I love spending time with them whenever I can.
In my group were Willie, Letu, Marco, and Chris, as well as the group leader Cecelia. I learned first hand that you really are only as fast as your slowest member. Letu is a little lady — not up to my shoulders or anywhere near them. Her brisk walk is my slow crawl. And she has difficulty breathing, so every couple of minutes we had to stop and give her a little rest. I expected the other clients to get frustrated with this because we did a lot of walking (including several flights of stairs due to a broken elevator), but they were so patient; Chris even offered to carry her bags.
While we were on the subway to City College for lunch and a workout class, I sat next to Willie, who is a big sweetheart. He didn’t have too much to say, but his huge smile was more than enough. The ride was going fine for Willie until a man boarded the subway who was possibly homeless and definitely talking to himself. Willie kept looking up at me with a really scared look and finally just put his head on my shoulder and slipped his hand into mine. Needless to say, my heart melted.
Later, while we were on a bus to computer class, I discovered that Willie has an urge to touch strangers. And he knows he shouldn’t; every time he reached his hand out toward someone’s shoulder or hair he would look at me with a big mischievous grin. While this was somewhat comical, it’s obviously a problem that I wasn’t anticipating. Strangers don’t like to be touched, and I told him this over and over. I had him hold his own hands or mine, which lasted for all of 5 seconds. Thankfully the woman next to him was very kind and understanding, but I was very relieved when our stop finally came.
This was by far my best and favorite day at work so far. The clients are a huge reason why I chose to intern at The Arc and I really just love them. They are absolutely wonderful people. But you can’t touch strangers, Willie. You just can’t.


I ate a lot of food this weekend. September 26, 2010

Filed under: Exploration,Internship — April @ 10:43 pm

What a weekend! Friday, which is supposed to be my day off, I caught the 6:40 a.m. bus downtown to attend the Arc Angel Breakfast. That’s the big donor event I’ve been working on since I started my internship. It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been there for two weeks because so much has happened. I showed up at City Club, the venue for the event, and couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. So upscale and classy — it’s a good thing I wore my fancypants. I was put immediately to work and was in charge of greeting guests. All the stories I had written about clients were on the tables and the video I shot of Briana last week was played during the breakfast, so that was a nice rewarding moment. Overall the event went well and 13 new donors made a 5-year commitment. I’d say that’s a success. Also, free breakfast.
Then I got home and waited for a special visitor (a.k.a. Wyatt) coming from Santa Barbara for the weekend. We got some delicious ice cream at Mitchell’s, which I’ve heard a lot about and is a house favorite, and we only got a little bit lost. Saturday was a full day — full of bus rides. We took a trip to Clement Street in the Richmond District to check out Green Apple Books and get some exotic cuisine at Burma Superstar. SO tasty! My new favorite bread is called platha; I recommend it to everyone with taste buds.
We also went to the San Francisco Zoo, of course! It had a great layout and the exhibits were really spacious. It felt a lot bigger than the Santa Barbara Zoo, which will always be my favorite, but I don’t think it had many more animals or the same charm. But it was a lovely outing, followed by a rather pungent dinner in North Beach at The Stinking Rose. It’s a garlic restaurant that serves absolutely everything garlic. I thought the ice cream was a bit much. We ended the weekend with a walk over to Haight for some crepes at Squat & Gobble this morning. Yum.
I really needed this weekend and it came at just the right time. I’ve been here for a month now and I’m starting to get into the routine of things and realizing that I miss Santa Barbara. I’m enjoying the city and the new experiences for sure, but I just love Santa Barbara. It’s home. So I’ve decided that I’ll be going there for the four-day weekend in October. It will be a good break and so good to see my family and Westmont faces.


Hi, I used to have your dream job. September 22, 2010

Filed under: Internship — April @ 9:01 am

Yesterday I met the man who started the job that I want forever: marketing director of the Santa Barbara Zoo, a.k.a. best place in the world.
This man wanders in to my office and surprisingly I haven’t met him yet. My supervisor introduces us and he asks for my spiel — where I go to school, how I ended up at The Arc, etc. He’s actually heard of Westmont and used to live in Santa Barbara. Also, he was a brand manager for a little company called Coca-Cola.
Somehow the conversation turns to the Zoo — not so shocking for me. When he was my age, he waltzed in and told them they needed a marketing director; for some reason they didn’t have one. Well they believed him and he started the position there. I couldn’t contain myself and blurted out “I want that job!” He thankfully (and surprisingly) took this seriously and said he is still friends with the director of the zoo and could probably hook it up with a job there if I’m really interested and would even write a letter of recommendation.
WHAT?? How is it that on the day I’m doing menial office tasks like printing and sorting at my internship at a nonprofit in San Francisco I happen to meet this man? Amazing!


My morning with Briana. September 16, 2010

Filed under: Internship — April @ 5:39 pm

There is a client at The Arc named Briana. She is supposed to give a speech next week at a big donor breakfast. Yesterday we found out that she’s been in the hospital with pneumonia the past few days, so giving the speech live might be overwhelming for her health. Briana still really wanted to share her story, so I suggested that we film it; that way, we can go at her pace. Today I got to film her. She was really a joy to work with and so excited to be on camera.
Briana had an awful time growing up. She was stuffed into lockers, rolled down a hill in a trashcan, and hung up on a flagpole, to name just a few things. When she came to The Arc, she was living with her dad, didn’t get out much, and didn’t really have any friends. She is such a kind and funny person, yet no one in her life was willing to see past her disabilities.
Now that she’s here, she says everything is different. She lives in her own apartment and goes to fun events around town with a group of Arc friends. She runs a micro-enterprise, which means that she has a small business at The Arc — it’s called The Friendly Cafe. And she has no problem admitting that she’s very popular.
I am so glad that I met her, that I got to help tell her story, and that I’m interning at The Arc. So many of the clients and other people with disabilities who aren’t at The Arc are overlooked or dismissed. This makes me sad and also angry. I’ve only been there for a week, but I’ve meet so many wonderful and hilarious and sweet people who happen to have developmental disabilities. For many of them, The Arc is their only chance at community because no one else will welcome them. I love that this place exists but I wish it didn’t need to.


A touring local and a real intern. September 13, 2010

Filed under: Exploration,Internship — April @ 10:58 pm

After a week of somewhat stressful internship hunting and lots of over-thinking (“careful consideration of options”), it was time for an I’m-a-tourist day before starting the internship.
I keep hearing that Fisherman’s Wharf is the only area in the city where there are more tourists than locals. Well I felt a little like both, but mostly the first. Fisherman’s Wharf is a fun little area full of shops and streets lined with vendors that remind me of the Sunday art walk in Santa Barbara. It’s right on the Bay with a distant and foggy view of Golden Gate Bridge. The best part is without a doubt Ghirardelli Square, the home of Ghirardelli chocolate. Two words: Free samples. I could have spent all day there; it smelled and tasted so delicious. I can definitely see this place being a frequent stop of mine, as I’ll be needing to restock my chocolate supply.
The next day we had a house picnic at Alamo Square, which is only a few blocks away from the house. On the east side of the park are the Painted Ladies, a.k.a. The Full House houses. These are the most photographed houses in the city, partly because of their beauty, partly because their backdrop is downtown and the Financial District, and partly because of Full House. We met some locals at the park, mainly through their dogs. Everyone has a dog here. It’s great.
That night we had a ladies night. There are 21 ladies in the house, so this was pretty impressive. We ventured out to North Beach/Little Italy for some good food and then settled down in Washington Square Park for a great San Francisco event called Film Night in the Park. The movie for the night was Amelie. It was very French, very quirky, and very delightful.
And then it began! Today was my first day interning at The Arc. My workday starts at 10 (yeah!). Once I got there, Meredith, my supervisor, took me around on a meet-and-greet with basically everyone that works there, from CEO to office assistant. Then I jumped right in to work. I really did a lot, especially for it being my first day. One of the clients was honored by Maria Shriver (wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger) this past weekend for her work in the office of the San Francisco mayor, so I wrote a brief profile of her for the Facebook page. I think that I will be doing a lot of work on their Facebook, so if you want to see what I’m doing at work, I’ve posted a link to it. I also did some video editing from the event at which she was honored, and that will be going on The Arc website tomorrow (to which I’ve also posted a link). I then went to one of the classes that are offered for clients — yoga. I really enjoyed being with the clients and and seeing one of the many services that The Arc provides them. I interviewed the volunteer instructor and wrote an article for the monthly newsletter about the class, which will be published online very soon. Also, throughout the day, clients stopped by the office and introduced themselves to me, which was so heartwarming and makes me really excited to work there. I know for sure that I made the right choice.
My work schedule will be a bit different than the rest of the Urban students because my supervisor doesn’t work Fridays. I’ll have to work Monday through Thursday (Tuesday and Thursday will not be full days), but I’ll always have a three-day weekend. Score!
I have my own desk in a spacious and shared office, my own phone extension, and I’m getting an official email address. Real world, here I come!

I’ve posted a link to my photo album for the semester; see what I’m seeing!


Three interviews and an internship. September 10, 2010

Filed under: Internship — April @ 7:22 pm

I had three interviews this week in hopes of finding the ideal internship.

The first was on Tuesday with Girls on the Run. I was able to figure out the bus system and got there early — even transferred buses no problem! The interview was super relaxed and with two of the three staff members. Because the staff is so small I’d be doing a little bit of everything, but my main focus would be their big event at the end of the year which has about 1,000 attendees. They offered me the internship right then so I told them I would get back to them by Friday. I left feeling confident but not ready to commit.

Wednesday I actually had two interviews because I had sent my resume out on the weekend and got called back from The Arc. I felt obligated to go even though I didn’t really want to but we are supposed to have at least three interviews. So I went to the Exploratorium first. This was the internship I was most excited about; excited is probably an understatement. Well I got just a little bit lost once I got off the bus because the street I was supposed to walk down was not clearly labeled but I made it on time anyway, just with a few new blisters on my feet. And the museum is AWESOME. The volunteer coordinator, Deirdre, set me up with an interview in the public information office. I think she saw comm major and thought PR and media. Even though Deirdre was great, the two ladies that interviewed me were just awful (Deirdre calls them the dragon ladies) and didn’t seem like they wanted an intern and I would be doing a lot of dumb intern stuff (clipping articles, responding to emails, etc). So I was suuuuper underwhelmed by this and completely disappointed because I had been so excited.

I had to go straight from there to my other interview with The Arc. The Arc is a national nonprofit organization that provides services for adults with developmental disabilities. I have a big big heart for people like this — I just really love them. My internship coordinator had suggested the place but I didn’t really consider it because I was set on Explo. But once I got there (a little late because the buses were late so I missed my transfer) it was wonderful. While I waited for my interviewer I talked with one of the clients about her day and what she likes to do. So great! I interviewed with Meredith, the marketing manager, who seemed really excited to have me there. From the interview I gathered that I would be doing a lot of work with their Facebook and blog, as well as interviewing clients and writing about their stories for the newsletter. She thought I was starting right then and wanted to get me an email address and a desk!

So then it was thinking time. I loved The Arc but didn’t really know how much I would be actually learning — I know how to Facebook and blogging really can’t be that difficult. So the next day I called Meredith to ask what I could expect to learn and how the internship would change as I learn more. She was really reassuring and said that basically I would be learning everything she knows about marketing communication and I would be doing some work outside her department, too.

Great! But I still had my mind set on Explo. I knew I didn’t want the PR internship with the dragon ladies. But Deirdre’s intern is leaving this week! So I called Deirdre to see if that was a position she wanted to fill again. She set me up with a meeting with her current intern to talk about the position. While I was meeting with her I knew it just was not the internship for me, and I kept thinking about The Arc and how much I loved it. Also I was at Explo for THREE HOURS just talking with Deirdre and her intern and also this volunteer that wandered in the office. He and I were talking about the most random things: communication, leadership, socialism, conflict, sustainability. The whole time I was thinking “Don’t you have to get back to work??” But it was a good conversation anyway.

With Explo off the list, I had to choose between GOTR and The Arc. GOTR was really willing to cater to my interests and major, and I would be very involved with the organization because it is so small. At The Arc I would be more focused in one department, so I’d learn a lot more about one thing rather than a little bit of everything. What really got me was all the interaction with clients that I’d have at The Arc; not only would I be interviewing them and writing about them, but they often pop into the office just to say hi. At GOTR, I think I would be in the office a lot with not much interaction with people (other than phone and email). And I know that Explo would probably look better on a resume (it’s the first science museum of its kind and the model for similar museums worldwide), but it just wasn’t for me.

And I’ve just confirmed with The Arc that I will be interning there! We’re going to work out my schedule when I go in on Monday. I am so very excited for this!