Letter: Program allows students to shadow non-profit leaders

I am writing to encourage all ISU students to consider applying for a truly unique opportunity: the Non-Profit Protégé Program. If there’s another program that lets you have the undivided attention of a local leader for an hour each week or gives you such an up-close look at what it’s like to run a non-profit organization, I am unaware of it.

This program pairs ISU students with leaders of local non-profit agencies, allowing students to shadow the leaders during the fall semester by meeting regularly with them, attending a board meeting and completing a project to give back to the organization.

This past fall I had the opportunity to be a non-profit protégé. I was paired with Art Weeks, director of the Ames Public Library, and met weekly with him to discuss a diverse array of topics, ranging from budgeting to event planning to leadership philosophies. I feel like this is an opportunity that really stands out from any other that I’ve had because it allowed me to see how an established community organization functions and what it takes to lead that organization. My participation in this project increased my awareness of the larger Ames community and helped me explore my career possibilities.

At the end of the program, I listened to other protégés share their non-profit experiences. Many spoke of inspiration they received from their mentor or talked about the way that they had seen lessons from textbooks applied in real life. All of them spoke of how thankful they were to have had this unique opportunity.

I would encourage anyone who is interested in exploring the world of non-profits to apply for this program. Applications are due Friday, March 4, and can be found at www.sac.iastate.edu under the Service Programs tab.