For the past two months I’ve been an intern and volunteer at the American Heart Association for their advocacy department. During my time here, I’ve had a lot of great life changing experiences. I have also had the privilege to help with a few events as well.
One of the events that I attended was the Central Arkansas Heart Walk Kick-Off. At this event I set-up a table and discussed with attendees the heart-healthy issues represented on several different petition cards. These issues were Smoke-Free Little Rock, healthy food access to all individuals, increased funding for the stroke registry and quality physical education programs for children in schools. These are all very important issues and I was able to tell people what the issues were and why these issues are important. If they agreed with any of these issues I then urged them to help us by filling out a postcard with their name, address, e-mail, and other information on it. The AHA does this to gain support for these issues so that they can be addressed to lawmakers. Then the information from the postcards is put into a bigger system to reach out to these people later for other events and hopefully reach out to their lawmakers in the future to resolve the issue. Entering information from postcards doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but I enjoyed entering them because I knew that it would make a difference. That one person’s information could make a huge impact in the future when we need their support on an issue. One of the greatest feelings ever is knowing that I’m going to be doing something to impact someone’s life for the better, big or small, and I felt that every day at the AHA.
Another event I attended was A Stroll at the Promenade. This event took place at the Chenal Promenade in Little Rock at the Gearhead Outfitters. It was another event to kick off the Heart Walk that will be taking place this month. There were prizes, refreshments, and giveaways. At this event, I helped set up a table with the postcards and I gave away AHA drawstring bags and frisbees for Move More Month. Although the weather wasn’t great it was fun to interact with everyone who was involved and be a part of the event.
From these experiences and my time here at AHA I’ve learned a lot about being heart healthy, what exactly goes into these events, and to reach out to lawmakers to get them to understand the importance of these issues. I would say that this has been a great, life-changing experience because I’ve met some very friendly people. They treated me like a part of a team and not just as an intern. I’ve learned about myself as well. This internship helped to show me that the career path that I am choosing will definitely be a rewarding one. Attending these events and being a part of putting them together has shown me that the AHA employees put everything they have into their work to get the job done but they have fun while doing it. They don’t do it just for themselves, but to make a positive impact on others’ lives and that’s exactly what I want to do on my career path. I’ve enjoyed my time and I wish that it didn’t have to an end. This experience has opened my eyes to the many ways that the AHA impacts millions of people’s lives worldwide and I hope that I’m able to be a part of this great organization or one like it someday.
If you are interested in an internship at the American Heart Association please email your resume to [email protected].