An Intern’s Experience with Reconnecting Families: Spreading the Word

Restoring Family Links interns (left to right) Lainey Schmidt, Megan Norris, Victoria Anderson, and Jackie Ramsay

Restoring Family Links interns (left to right) Lainey Schmidt, Megan Norris, Victoria Anderson, and Jackie Ramsay

Story by Jackie Ramsay, Intern, Washington, DC

When I first came across the opportunity to intern with Restoring Family Links, I was basically in disbelief. As an International Relations major with a huge passion for communications, the opportunity to intern with the outreach team was really all I could’ve hoped for as the position completely bridges together my two main interests. When I received the call that I was selected for the position, I stuttered so much I thought my offer would be retracted. I couldn't wait to be a part of the Red Cross mission that benefits individuals both domestically and around the world.

As an Outreach Intern, my day-to-day responsibilities revolve around social media, which include news monitoring for our Twitter, writing up “This Week in Restoring Family Links News” on the blog each week, and completing other projects to help improve outreach communications. My major project this summer was analyzing our Twitter activity from the past year in order to see how we can better interact with followers, alert more people of our services, and provide more engaging content.

During my first week, I remember sitting down with Jon while he explained to me that he spent two hours each morning looking for Twitter content (in addition to all of his other outreach responsibilities and assisting with Americas casework.) Besides how incredibly daunting this sounded to me at the time, I immediately recognized the dedication of the team to inform the community of the reconnecting families services of the Red Cross, and how important it was that I make this my primary mission for the summer.  

Ever since I was a kid, I've always loved to write, but I was never really sure why. Working as an Outreach Intern put my passion for writing into perspective, because I realized that I write to give others a voice – I chose to study International Relations because I believe all diverse populations deserve to be heard, and helping to make this happen is one of my main long-term aspirations. Tweeting about migrant and refugee crises around the world as well as briefly summarizing their experiences on “This Week in RFL” has been a small way for me to help well-deserving voices be heard. While I was able to explore and expand my interests, I was also able to inform others of global conflicts that create family separations, which are constantly occurring in the world every single day.

Years from now, when I look back on this experience, I know I’ll remember one moment distinctly: when the team gathered to plan for the upcoming year, Nadia Kalinchuk, who supports the migration portfolios of the American Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross in Washington, DC, made a comment that left not a dry eye in the room. She said that she was so lucky to be working with such an amazing team full of smiling, friendly faces who are immensely dedicated to their work and the Red Cross mission. After only two short months, I knew exactly what she was talking about. I am so blessed and honored to have been a part of such a wonderful family. 

After spending the past three years as a student of American University, I've realized that being a DC college student comes with a certain amount of responsibilities. It’s pretty normal for recent graduates of DC universities to have multiple internships under their belt, and because it’s so normal, it almost comes as an expectation rather than a privilege – and the word “fun” is often out of the question. Last week, I was catching up with an old classmate I hadn't seen in a while, and she asked about my internship experience this summer. After I told her about what I've been doing at the Red Cross, she said that my face was beaming the entire time. So, I think it’s safe to say that I’m one of the lucky ones.