They’re a big force behind charity: water’s progress and we think it’s time you got to know them — meet our interns for Spring 2012:
What do you do here?
I work closely with Merry and Melissa on the Volunteer program. My main responsibility is to love and cherish the volunteers! Other than that, I am in charge of answering inquiries regarding the Volunteer program, planning and managing Volunteer events and thinking of cool ways to get volunteers involved with the organization.
Ok — what else are you up to, beyond being an intern?
I’m a sophomore studying Global Liberal Studies at NYU. It’s a new major and program a lot like International Relations; but with an emphasis in culture, theory, the classics and foreign language. I get to study abroad all next year in Paris! I also scoop gelato at Amorino Gelato on 10th and University on the weekends. We also serve waffles, cakes, chocolates and gourmet coffees. Lets just say, I have developed quite the sweet tooth!
Do you have any secret talents?
This may sound dorky, but on a good day I can name all 51 animated Disney films in chronological order. I love Disney, Disney movies, Disneyland, Disney World — basically anything Disney.
Besides water, are there any other causes you’re passionate about?
I am also really passionate about the anti-genocide movement. I used to be heavily involved with STAND (a student anti-genocide coalition) in high school. We raised awareness about past and present genocides. With our main focus being on Darfur, we also raised funds for aid (mostly food and water) for surviving and displaced victims in refugee camps.
Reading e-mails from volunteers is inspiring because they share their passions, ambitions and reasons why they want to be involved with charity: water.
Where would you like to see charity: water work next?
Peru. I’m half Peruvian, and it was there that first I saw the impact of the water crisis. At age six, we drove by a village situated on the bank of a brown river. People were bathing and washing clothes. Confused, I asked my mom why people would do that; she explained that not everyone had a chance to use or drink clean water. Cliché as it sounds, I knew at that moment that I wanted to make a difference in the world.
What’s your favorite thing about being a charity: water intern so far?
The volunteers of course! They are really amazing and fun to work with at events. Reading e-mails from volunteers is inspiring because they share their passions, ambitions and reasons why they want to be involved with charity: water. Everyone is always enthusiastic about joining the cause, even when they are sending out tax receipts!
What’s your job here at charity: water?
I am the newest Digital Intern and my job rocks! Each day I walk into the office, open up my computer and get to communicate with some of charity: water’s coolest supporters. I am slowly becoming a mycharity: water expert and loving every second of it. Every day I get to talk with at least one person from across the world — what other internship would allow you to do that? Not many, which is why charity: water kicks butt.
What do you do outside of working here?
I spend a great deal of my free time coaching gymnastics. My job description at the gym deviates far from my responsibilities at charity: water: I get to act like a kid for hours, cracking jokes that anyone over the age of 10 wouldn’t find funny! And while I’m not at the gym or charity: water, I’m constantly entering my photos into contests with the hopes of winning the latest and greatest wide angle lens.
Do you have a secret talent that we don’t know about?
I can belch unthinkably loud! It’s not the most lady-like quality, but it’s the truth. Trust me, I wish I could respond to this question by telling you that I can play the cello, sing like a champ, and dance like MC Hammer in his “Can’t Touch This Video,” but if I’m being honest; I can’t play an instrument, I’m tone deaf and I dance like Elaine from Seinfeld.
Where do you think charity: water should work next?
El Salvador. While there is no shortage of water in El Salvador, nearly 90% of the available water contains high levels of contamination because of the virtually nonexistent municipal wastewater treatment. And, because El Salvador lacks clean, safe drinking water, the quality of life remains poor and the infant mortality rate high.
The staff is incredible — charity: water has set the bar high, proving that you can absolutely love what you do.
What do you love most about being a charity: water intern?
The staff is incredible. I wanted to work in a place in which the staff got up each morning, brushed their teeth, got dressed and went to work because they wanted to, not because they had to!
I wasn’t sure if that definition of the workplace was some farfetched fantasy, but charity: water has set the bar high, proving that you can absolutely love what you do.
What inspires you about the charity: water office?
The photography is to die for! The moment you walk into the charity: water office, you are welcomed by this beautiful, illuminated photograph of a girl named Caroline — it takes your breath away. The giant photographs that line the office walls serve as a constant reminder of how truly lucky I am to be working for charity: water.
What do you do here at charity: water?
I’m the Water Programs Intern here at charity: water. I assist the Water Programs Team with different facets of their partner communication, grant assignments and project reporting. The variety of the work keeps my days very exciting!
Besides working at charity: water, what do you do?
I just moved here in January, so I feel like I am continuously exploring the city! I love finding cute little restaurants and fun second-hand stores. I live in Battery Park, which is great for running, so I try to run after work every day. Other than that, I’ve been going to some museums lately. I went to the Whitney Museum last week, which I loved!
Any unique talents?
We have yet to have a potluck dinner, but if we did, I would blow everyone away with my homemade guacamole! This amazing guacamole, with mango salsa and some hint-of-lime chips, is to die for!
What do you do on your commute to the office?
Create stories about the lives of the people sitting across from me on the subway.
Are you passionate about any other causes besides water?
I am very passionate about basic social inequality issues. In the past, I’ve worked with organizations dedicated towards the AIDS epidemic. While I am very passionate about eliminating that disease, I have always been more passionate about the deeper issues like eliminating social inequities, addressing the extreme poverty existent in our world and providing access to quality healthcare. I am continuously shocked by the inequalities present in the 21st century; which is why I was particularly drawn to charity: water.
charity: water works with a lot of different groups — anyone you would like to see get more involved with the organization?
I would love to see charity: water reach college campuses. I think that the energy charity: water has as an organization is one that college students would gravitate toward.
What’s your job at the intern desk?
I’m the Design Intern, so I work on things like event invitations, web banners, presentations and illustrations.
What other organizations do you follow?
I actually heard about charity: water during an internship at TOMS shoes.
When you’re not at charity: water, what do you do?
Before moving to New York, I’d only visited twice. I’m from North Carolina, so I’ve been trying to explore the city as much as possible. I also work at a great company called PhotoShelter, doing freelance graphic design.
Any secret talents?
I’m pretty good at getting on the wrong train -– apparently, uptown trains don’t go downtown? Who knew?
Do you have a favorite thing about being a charity: water intern?
My favorite thing is the ability to pair graphic design with a great cause that I believe in. Not only do I get to do what I love, I know that the hours I’m putting in are helping to end the water crisis. And walking around SoHo on my lunch break isn’t bad either!
Anything quirky about the office that you like?
I love that a Donor of the Week is highlighted at the weekly staff meetings. As a Design Intern, I don’t have as much contact with what’s going on with mycharitywater and fundraising, so it’s a great reminder that there are so many people dedicated to the cause.
How’d you end up at charity: water and what do you do here?
My brother-in-law emailed me to tell me that they were looking for volunteers to edit the 250 thank-you videos for fundraisers during September Campaign 2011. I ended up getting to edit a bunch of those videos and met Mo Scarpelli — so when I heard she was looking for a Multimedia Intern, I got super excited! I get to do some awesome things like talking to campaigners, sharing their stories on the blog and editing and sorting through all the beautiful photos from charity: water’s past trips.
What sorts of things do you do when you’re not working at charity: water?
I have a very close community of friends and we get together every Saturday morning for breakfast. It seems like every week the meal gets more elaborate (think crepes and spinach strata elaborate) and we’ve had up to twenty-five or so people show up. Usually there are some cute little kids taking a bite out of every bagel and a puppy padding around underfoot so we never know quite what to expect!
In addition to my work at charity: water, I work at two other jobs: I work at a YWCA as a lifeguard and swim instructor and at a sports arena in New Jersey, in the media department. I have a few hobbies: taking photos of everyone around me, trying to re-learn the piano, teaching myself to play the ukulele and studying Hungarian. I also love traveling. I discovered my passion for the country of Hungary while on a trip with Cedarville University in 2007 and since that trip, I’ve returned three times to teach at English camps. The orphanages and the refugee camp there changed the way I look at the world.
Is there any cause besides water on your mind?
One of the biggest things on my heart is fighting poverty (which really goes hand-in-hand with charity: water’s mission). I took a class in college that was focused on poverty in urban culture and how poverty affects people’s lives. We spent a weekend on the streets in -15-degree wind chill. I’m not really allowed to say much more about it because I was sworn to secrecy so that I won’t bias the experience for others who take the class. Many people here in the U.S. and around the world experience hunger and thirst every day as their reality.
What do you do on your commute to and from New Jersey?
I usually read my Bible or listen to Hungarian lessons (people must think I’m crazy since I’m mumbling to myself). One time while riding the bus, someone tried to read my palm… it was just a little bit awkward!
Is there something unique about the office that you were surprised by?
Almost all of the interns (and many of the staff) are really tall! I’ve never been around so many people I can see eye-to-eye with, literally!
Julie Van Wagenen
What’s your role at charity: water?
I am the Development Intern and I mainly work on generating tax receipts for donors and members of The Well, responding to matching gift requests and doing some research for potential foundation grants.
I love chatting with the new interns and staff at beer and pizza and getting updates from the different departments on charity: water’s progress.
What do you do when you’re not at charity: water?
I am working at Tertulia, a Spanish tapas restaurant in Greenwich Village, and eating my way through New York via cupcake shops.
I love birds!! Especially the ones that sing and talk. But I am also a fan of sloths, which I discovered after watching Ice Age seven times. I love you, Sid!
Is there something unusual about the office here that you like?
Every Friday at 5p.m., we get together for Beer and Pizza. I love chatting with the new interns and staff and getting updates from the different departments on charity: water’s progress. Also, the Idea Paint (dry-erase board paint… what our photos in this post were taken in front of) around the office is awesome. Who knew you could scribble on a wall and not feel guilty?
Are there any other causes that you’re passionate about?
I’m definitely passionate about reducing child hunger and extreme poverty around the world. It’s unfortunate that children are born into situations of desperation with no means to escape.
Where should charity: water work next?
I would love to see charity: water work in Laos. I took a trip there last summer and saw a lot of underdeveloped areas that were in need of assistance.
Emma Kay Stevenson
You came all the way from Australia to intern at charity: water — what’s your role here?
I work on Team Scott. Lindsay, Mary and I all work together to make sure Scotts week runs smoothly. We do travel planning for conferences and events where Scott is speaking and make sure the general schedule for the week has no glitches. We also do fun things like chase up receipts and reply to emails and help organize fun events coming up in the office!
So before packing up your life into a suitcase, what were you doing?
I’m a teacher back home in Australia, so I spend my days teaching small children about impossible dreaming, that nonsense is the most acceptable form of communication, how to wink and that Dr. Seuss is the cure for a rough day. Some days we do math. I also invest my time into writing children’s picture books, my own blog and recently, teaching myself photography.
Do you have a favorite place in NYC?
Five Leaves — Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. Easily the most delicious coffee and scrambled eggs on the planet.
Where do you think charity: water should go next?
I would love to see charity: water work in Vietnam. I was recently talking with some friends in Vietnam about how water actually effects every single aspect of life in Vietnam and without clean water, kids don’t go to school, parents don’t work, the family gets sick and there is no end to this cycle. Access to clean water changes lives — hearing this first hand from people with real stories makes you understand the gravity of this thing that we so easily take for granted.
You’re leaving your house or apartment — what do you always have to have with you?
I can’t ever leave the house without my laptop and mints.
What do you think is special about being a charity: water intern?
The thing that is so special about interning for charity: water is that everywhere you go, people know about charity: water and absolutely love the brand and what it represents. People are always talking about how charity: water has reinvented the norm for the way charities do marketing and get people involved. It’s such a cool environment to work in — the office has the most amazing vibe and culture! But my favorite thing about this place is the people, who are by far a bunch of the most inspiring individuals that I have ever come across. I’m pretty sure you will have to force me to leave, because this place has become my home!
What’s your job here at charity: water?
I intern for the wonderful Lindsay Ratowsky, executive assistant to Scott Harrison.
Outside of your work here, what do you do?
I’m eating or I’m looking for something delicious to eat. If you look for me around 7:30 pm on weeknights, you’ll find me yelling at Alex Trebek. I love (and am pretty fabulous at) Jeopardy!
Where should charity: water work next?
I would love for charity: water to have more of a presence in South America. Currently, we are in Bolivia but I would love to see projects in Paraguay and Peru.
Do you support any other causes?
I’m always preaching about something from my soapbox. Usually it has something to do with Obama/Biden 2012, sustainability, nutrition or hunger and poverty alleviation.
What would you say is the best thing about being a charity: water intern so far?
Are there places in the city you especially love going to?
My favorite part of the city, besides the pretty tree-lined streets of the West Village, is definitely Rockaway Beach in Queens. It doesn’t even feel like you’re in New York City out there. The beach is a little dirty but it’s fantastic in the summer and it’s always full of people from all walks of life.