Having moved to Charlottesville from Los Angeles just last year, Madi Glaser '19 had been looking for ways to get involved in the community ever since. When she had the opportunity to participate in the Nonprofits and Community Service Intensive facilitated by Dr. Visscher-Gingerich, Ms. Ruff, and Mr. Stinnie, she knew it would be a perfect fit.
"I knew this Intensive would be hands-on and students would be more independent, which I knew fit me, but I didn't realize how many opportunities would be available to me and how much I would be able to do."
After visiting the Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNE) early in the three-week Intensive period, Glaser realized that an internship at The Haven, a multi-resource day center, was the opportunity in which she had the most interest.
"Every day at The Haven I had main tasks. I was always working at the front desk, and then filing mail, retrieving things for the guests, running the check in, helping with laundry, just making sure everything was running smoothly," said Glaser. "But I actually spent most of my time connecting with guests. I was building resumes with people, preparing someone for an interview, sitting down with someone for hours. I was doing this stuff when I would go in outside of the hours I was needed, even on snow days and weekends."
During the Intensive period, Glaser reported for her shifts at The Haven at 6:45 a.m., almost two hours earlier than she generally arrived on campus for a school day.
"Intensives have a really different and special schedule. Normally we come to school in the morning, have classes, and leave in the afternoon. In my case, during this Intensive I went to The Haven every day around 6:45 a.m. and then I would be there until about 1:00 p.m., then I would come to school and work on other things," she said. "The trust that the teachers had in us, that we were where we were supposed to be, was really special. We had check ins, but a lot of freedom, and most days I was involved for longer than a typical school day."
Even when the Intensive period ended, Glaser found herself continuing the work she began at her internship with The Haven. She launched Aware & Act (@awareandact), an Instagram account dedicated to highlighting service opportunities throughout Charlottesville.
"My Instagram is really my happy place right now," she said. "I work about forty-five minutes per post, and I just try to post any upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, fundraisers, absolutely anything that will bring people together."
In the future, Glaser hopes that community organizations will begin reaching out to her with more information and that she can expand Aware & Act into multiple platforms including a website, YouTube channel, and Twitter account. When she sets off for college, she plans to continue working on the Charlottesville Aware & Act but also create one in her new hometown.
"I hope that eventually we can have these Instagrams in all communities, and then a global one that can spread more and more information," she said. "I see a lot of hope in that, I hope it grows."