By Esther Pew, YNPNmaine Board Co-Chair
My friend Faith Robinson and I met on our first day of classes at the University of Southern Maine’s School of Social Work. To learn more about Faith, including her interests in social work, the nonprofit field, and YNPNmaine, check out my member interview with her below.
YNPNmaine: Hi Faith! Thanks for talking with me and sharing your story with YNPNmaine. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Faith: I’m a second year part-time MSW graduate at USM studying Social Work. I grew up in Brunswick, Maine and moved to Portland five years ago after finishing my undergraduate degree in English at USM. At USM, I started an internship at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine. After completing my internship, I was hired as a part-time administrative assistant. This turned into a full-time job after I graduated.
YNPNmaine: Well that’s awesome! Tell me some of your favorite things to do in your spare time.
Faith: I like spending time outdoors, getting on the water, and going to the beach. I enjoy being around other people and making new friends, seeking new experiences, and also volunteering when I can. When I’m not working or studying for school, I like to exercise and be active outside – especially running and hiking. I appreciate days when I can relax with a good book, and I’ve always enjoyed painting, though I don’t do it enough.
YNPNmaine: Why nonprofits? Specifically – specifically why Boys and Girls Clubs?
Faith: I’ve always wanted to work in the nonprofit sector. I had the opportunity to work at a private school but I knew where I wanted to be. I connect with the mission of Boys and Girls Clubs. I’m able to see the kids right outside my office window in the big “games room.” The staff are phenomenal, and the organization is such an inspiring place to learn many professional skills.
YNPNmaine: What is your favorite part about working in the nonprofit field?
Faith: I really enjoy seeing the impact the Club has on the kids. We hold an awards ceremony for them and I get to organize the materials for the applications for the awards. There are so many fantastic programs and opportunities offered – from athletics to work and school trainings, etc. To be a part of it, even in a small way, is very gratifying.
YNPNmaine: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in entering the nonprofit field?
Faith: I would tell them to be open-minded to learning all aspects of the organization’s work, instead of limiting the experiences to one department. See what you like – maybe it’s accounting, programming, or development – be open to all possibilities. It’s productive for someone just starting out to learn a little about everything!
YNPNmaine: What were you doing before the Boys and Girls Clubs?
Faith: I was a Behavioral-Health Professional (BHP) for a few months which was a really eye-opening experience and helped me grow both personally and professionally. I worked with children on goals in their treatment plans. In addition to being a BHP, I used to work in retail. It was rewarding to me in another way – a lot of talking to and engaging with customers. Next up for me will be an internship at Maine Medical Center in the fall.
YNPNmaine: Why social work?
Faith: Many reasons. From personal experiences growing up, to a love for social service and social justice. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my life and I really want to give back to my community. I enjoy connecting with different types of people and helping them solve problems.
YNPNmaine: Did anyone inspire you to study social work?
Faith: My aunt is a social worker. I look up to her for many reasons: she’s a strong, independent woman with great leadership skills, many connections in the community, and a big family. She sees the world through a fair lens and she is skilled at expressing those opinions.
YNPNmaine: Why YNPNmaine?
Faith: I like the idea of like-minded souls coming together to talk about their passions. My first event was the fundraising event at Flatbread Pizza Co. in Portland. It was wonderful to meet people in the same field and the same interests as me.
YNPNmaine: Thank you so much for sitting down with me, Faith! One last question: what would you tell someone to encourage them to join YNPNmaine?
Faith: It’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals and the best part is making friends with other people in your community. Despite differing fields, there are always commonalities to unite us.