One of my favorite things I’ve learned to do in my life is to look around my current surroundings, and think back three months, six months, one year, or five years back, and ask myself if I ever could have imagined myself where I am now. Every time I do this simple activity, I am amazed at the things that have happened and had no intention of coming. That’s the difficult thing about being an inherent planner. You try to plan your day, your week, your future, but you never actually know what’s coming. You can look back at the memories in your life, but you can’t look to the future. And although uncertainties can be unsettling, I am starting to learn that the best things that have come in my life are things I would’ve never planned, and never seen coming.
For example, three months ago an internship with Rethreaded was nowhere on my radar. Three months ago, I was waiting to hear back from other globally focused nonprofits, hoping to head towards the D.C. region to be amidst some of the largest international humanitarian assistance organizations in the country. But when you fast forward to today, I find myself here in Jacksonville, doing a Marketing Internship under a local Women’s Empowerment nonprofit. And looking at this picture holistically, the plans I would’ve never made turned out to be inexplicably and profoundly more perfect than the ones I tried to conjure up back then.
I initially knew Rethreaded due to local events and knew that it was a nonprofit focused on women’s empowerment. What I didn’t know was the community, the ethics, and the dedication poured into this company, and what it all meant collectively. If you haven’t yet had the chance to step into our warehouse, I suggest you stop what you’re doing and drive over to Barnett Street immediately. All I can say is that, until you’ve stepped through the doors of Rethreaded, you cannot fully understand the magnitude of this organization. Until I walked through the doors of Rethreaded on the first day of my internship, I had no understanding of the community that was responsible for Rethreaded and the upcycled products synonymous with the name.
These past eight weeks, my internship has been primarily focused on shadowing the marketing department inside Rethreaded. Yet that was just the initial idea of this position when I came on board. Since May 1st, I have not only done marketing research, but I’ve created an ethical shopping booklet; handled donation requests; reviewed donor lists; created surveys to evaluate the effects of Rethreaded within our community of survivors; shadowed the sales team in outreach events; dabbled in merchandising; learned how production creates the company’s best selling items; sat in on strategic director-level meetings, and so much more.
Through this myriad of opportunities, I have become a conscious consumer, a more active member of my local community, and increasingly knowledgeable about the all-around effects of the human-trafficking occurring around Northeast Florida. I have had more doors opened here than I’ve had from all my previous professional experiences combined. And to have known this was going to happen three months ago, I don’t think I could’ve written it all down in my planner.
While I know this blog is for you, our friends and advocates, this blog is also a thank you to the staff of Rethreaded. To every woman and man in our warehouse that has encouraged me, allowed me to sit in on your meetings, shadowed your department, interviewed you for blogs, or said a simple good morning to me. It is because of the incredible community at Rethreaded that all of this has been possible. The community is the reason the company is so successful; why women are excited to come to work; and why I wish my time here could be so much longer. So THANK YOU — you have made this summer one of the most endearing in my life.
Your Summer 2017 Intern,