The Summer of a Thousand Tasks

By Akeira Jennings, ICY Intern

This summer I had the privilege of being the International Citizen of the Year Award intern. Although I would like to think that I prepared myself for my internship through hours of research, I am now fully aware that I had no idea what lay ahead of me.

K.D. and I volunteer as face painters at Polo At Sunset

I have never considered myself an artist. While I’m sure my fellow interns would agree with that statement, I was able to test my artistic abilities this summer by volunteering as a face painter at our July Polo At Sunset fundraising event. While the event in which we spent several months preparing for was both fun and financially successful, I managed to upset a few children with my, dare I say, creative take on the flags they wanted painted on their faces. Despite my inability to paint the South African flag or the Union Jack, I was given yet another opportunity to flex my art muscles by painting little wooden suitcases we used as centerpieces at the International Citizen of the Year award ceremony. Luckily for me, they just needed to be painted one shade of blue.

Despite my initial thoughts, my time at the International Center was not just spent on updating reservation lists. With the guidance of Billie Fouts, I was able to design invitations, create seating cards, manage the intern blog, write a press release, and push a marketing campaign for our fundraising event. With the expertise of the tech savvy Peter Kirkwood, I also learned how to more effectively use Excel.

While I have given speeches before, being able to speak at a Naturalization ceremony was one of the most powerful and riveting experiences of my life. As I presented the flag to the eldest citizen being naturalized, I realized that each of us in that room, despite our different backgrounds, accents, or cultures, were all connected through the flag and our pride in being American citizens.

Mayor Ballard and I at The International Citizen of the Year ceremony

Note to the new class of interns: As an intern at The International Center, you will have the chance to showcase your skills and to develop new ones. You will be able to test your strengths. Whether it be speaking or writing, the staff will support you in using your talents to their full potential. Though I knew I would be challenged and would have to invest a lot of hours and hard work into such a grand event as ICY, I never would have expected my summer to be this inspiring or informative.

Now, after four months of an amazing internship experience, I must say adieu to my friends at The International Center and to the best summer I have ever had.