Career Fair

St. Vinnie’s volunteers come to the organization for a wide variety of reasons and from diverse walks of life, but one common thread among most is a desire to do good in the community. For recent University of Oregon graduate Adrian, he stumbled into what would become a long-term position with St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County (SVdP) almost by mistake but still with a desire to help.

“I was on campus and got an email that there was a career fair,” he recalls. “I am shy and didn’t want to go but decided to go before class (I was late). I walked around and asked if there were any tables with info about tiny houses. I was pointed to St. Vinnie’s.”

Adrian met with SVdP team members Jack Boisen and Mary Bowers and walked away with an internship application before hustling off to class. After submitting his application, Adrian was brought onto the SVdP community engagement team to help with grant research — an important function in securing needed funding for SVdP’s various programs.

InternshipAdrian volunteering

“When I came, there was much to learn about the organization. I spent a big chunk of time in the beginning learning. Then when it was time to get involved in grants, I decided to take a grant-writing class at school. I learned so much here at SVdP that the class was easy,” Adrian replies when asked how his work at SVdP helped in his studies.

During his internship, Adrian assisted in the various stages of research and pre-work for grant submission and even wrote five grants himself. One of those grants even ended up being reused as a final assignment for his grant-writing class.

“Interning was my first real-world experience. I knew that what I was doing was going to make a difference for others. I could see results good for the organization.”

Volunteer Experience

After completing his internship with St. Vinnie’s Adrian chose to stay on as a long-term volunteer until his graduation from the UO in 2023. He continued to work in the community engagement team helping with various administrative tasks and grant research. He says among his favorite experiences was helping set up SVdP’s fundraiser supporting the McDonald Community Vision fund in October of 2023. Now, as he prepares to move into the next stage of his life, Adrian is taking valuable lessons away from his experience with SVdP.

“I learned a lot about professionalism. I bring ‘silly-goose’ energy with me wherever I go,” he admits with a laugh. “Learning how to write an email with a professional voice was a thing.”

His advice for other potential interns or volunteers is that if you’re a student who wants real-world experience and to learn valuable, yet often untaught things like office etiquette, all you need to do is ask and be willing to help where needed.

“You may not know what’s out there, but they will let you know. Keep an open mind,” he urges. “You might have skills you didn’t know you had and could fill needs not posted.”

SVdP is always looking for hardworking, dedicated, and community-minded individuals and groups to join our team to help make a difference for others. We have several volunteering opportunities across our organization. To learn more please click below:

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