This post was written by one of our wonderful interns, Jodee McKeon. Her time working with us has come to an end, and we are already missing her smile and energy in the office. Good luck with everything, Jodee!

Jodee working at our Golf Tournament in June

As a UVU student approaching my senior year, it came time for me last spring to decide on what I would do to fulfill my program’s requirement for an internship experience. I must admit, back then I simply saw the internship as just another hoop to jump through to get to graduation. I met with my internship coordinator, and one of the possible sites she suggested was Rising Star Outreach. She said they were a great organization and worked really well with student interns. It sounded pretty good to me, so I reached out to Rising Star and ended up getting a position as an intern for Summer 2017. I had no idea then that it would be such a fulfilling and impactful experience!

First, from a purely logistical standpoint, Rising Star has been amazingly flexible to work with. Of course, they expect me to work hard, to be punctual and reliable, and to use my time efficiently. But as anyone would understand, summer can be a crazy time of life, especially for a college student. Classes may not be in session, but life still happens. So when things like my grandmother’s funeral, or needing to babysit my brother’s kids in New York, or even just the couple of small planned trips I had this summer came up, it was okay. As long as the work got done, that was what mattered. I’m so grateful they were willing to let me work from home when I needed to, and I could choose when to come into the office when it worked best for me. In return, I’ve done my very best to be as present and as flexible as possible as well. When big events were approaching or important projects needed to be done, I’ve understood that I need to be there when they need me. As an intern, it has been empowering and motivating to be trusted and respected in this way.

That’s really just a small part of my experience, though. Even more impactful has been the variety of projects I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in, and the diversity of skills and lessons I’ve learned as a result. I helped organize and put on the Rising Star Eighth Annual Charity Golf Tournament, the organization’s largest fundraising event of the year. My work included preparing gift bags, contacting and inviting donors, being a hole witness during the golf tournament (pretty fun, actually!), speaking with and building relationships with volunteers and donors, and much more. The real-life experience of being behind the scenes for an event like that was something I could never have gained in a classroom, and is a memory I’ll always hold onto.

I’ve also been able to help manage Rising Star’s Sponsor A Child program, through which the children in India who are growing up in leprosy colonies are able to attend school and receive proper medical care, nutrition, and education. And I’ve even had the chance to practice making social media material for the organization, including this blog post! There have been so many experiences and learning opportunities, I wish I had the space to write about them all.

Perhaps the greatest thing my internship with Rising Star Outreach has provided me is the opportunity to work in an office with such wonderful, passionate people who really care about what they are doing. It’s been eye-opening and humbling to be able to learn firsthand about the inner-workings of a non-profit organization like this. I’ve learned a great deal about how a non-profit’s success truly relies upon a small group of talented people who work very hard. But in addition to them, there are hundreds more kind-hearted and generous volunteers and donors who make their work possible. It has been inspiring to see the good that can come about when people truly care. All of these passionate individuals I’ve had the privilege of working with and learning from are an essential puzzle piece in the big picture of Rising Star’s mission to lift the leprosy-affected in India. I’ll always be grateful for the chance to observe their professionalism and passion, and hope to emulate it in my own career someday.  

So here I am at the end of my summer and my internship, and it’s amazing to look at where I am now, compared to where I was when I started. I’ve developed skills in areas of public relations, communications, organization, administration, education, and much more. I’ve grown personally and professionally, and have gained more from this experience than I ever would have imagined. To anyone who may be considering becoming an intern with Rising Star Outreach, take some advice from someone who’s been there: do it! You’ll be grateful you did, and will be so much better for it.

We accept volunteers of all kinds to work at our Provo, Utah office – not just university internships. If you are interested in volunteering with us, please contact Shalay Branch at or 801.820.0466. We’d love to to have you!
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