The summer of 2019 saw two co-op students join the RCRG team: Olivia Dong and Clara Tang. As is tradition, we asked both of them to write blog posts reflecting on their brief, but surely life-changing, time at our organization. Up first is Clara.
Clara was the Swiss Army knife of summer co-op students, working in multiple departments and often filling in at our front desk. She was also a fixture at all of our summer events, from Steveston Wine Fest to Community In Motion to the Day of Caring. She had never heard of RCRG before starting here, though hopefully she's gotten to know us a little better. We're certainly glad we got to know her.
Working as a Program Assistant in the Information & Volunteer Centre this past summer at Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (RCRG) has been a very memorable experience.
Prior to applying for this position, I did not know much about RCRG (embarrassing, I know). However, RCRG fosters a great learning environment that enables co-op students like me to learn about the non-profit sector and make impactful contributions to the organization and community.
At RCRG, I was surrounded by a friendly and diverse team and was welcomed by the many departments that RCRG houses – including its Child Care Resource & Referral Centre, Seniors Community Support Services, and Information & Volunteer Centre. The diversity allowed for me to explore the day-to-day operations of a non-profit organization and sample different sectors of the organization through the projects that I worked on.
From writing papers at school to creating reports and posters at RCRG, I was happy to be able to draw on my analytic and creative side at work every day. Although I was in an office environment, it did not feel like a generic, mundane 9 to 5 job in a corporate setting. Everything I did at work feels meaningful knowing that it will provide support for others in the community.
During my work term, I updated some of RCRG’s key resources, including its online Community Services Directory, the Richmond Seniors Directory, and various brochures on volunteering. As part of this process, I learned to use the backend of RCRG’s website, and got to hone my Microsoft Office skills.
The flexibility to work on projects outside of my department further enhanced my knowledge about the organization and broadened my personal learning experience. Specifically, within the Seniors Community Support Services department, it was an eye-opener to work alongside the volunteers who make programs like Shop-by-Phone come to life.
Likewise, I created the Child Care Resource & Referral Centre’s Wage & Fee Survey, along with a subsequent report. This allowed the department to collect and analyze data on child care facilities and staff wages, and compile that data into valuable resources for child care providers and parents.
By coming into this role with an eager heart to learn and take on new experiences, I enjoyed my time at RCRG, where I not only developed new skills, but also learned more about myself while connecting to my community through my work.
My experience at RCRG was full of fun and growth, as I was surrounded by many talented mentors and peers that continuously encouraged me to be curious and provided me with invaluable feedback. Personally, I still have a lot more to learn about the non-profit sector; however, this past summer at RCRG was definitely a rewarding and impactful co-op term for me!Photo Caption: Clara, on the left, at Steveston Wine Fest, where she helped sell 50/50 tickets in support of the Richmond Christmas Fund.