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Summer 2016… The summer I learned how to LIVE UNITED

Who knew that ‘work’ could be a summer to remember?

As a senior at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, it is a course requirement to complete 140 hours of an internship of my choice related to the field of study. I have always had a heart for nonprofit work. I remembered a church member saying she majored in Public Relations, which is exactly what I’m majoring in. I told her my interests and she instantly recommended I contact United Way of West Central Mississippi. I told her I’d reach out to them, but I was still having doubts. I remember calling Executive Director, Michele Connelly, asking for internship opportunities. She answered with excitement and then told me she was cleaning out the basement. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but I do not know many Executive Directors who clean out basements. I loved it, and it really made me see that she was a human and was not afraid to get her hands dirty. I was stunned when she said I would fit right into their summer plans and could meet with her and the Director of Marketing and Community Relations, Tyler McNeal, the following week.

This is when my summer changed…

I walk in on my first day and I look to my left and there was an employee wearing a monkey costume. If that wasn’t enough, the Executive Director was running around with a tall yellow hat. Seeing all this, I knew I was in for a summer treat. Turns out, they were planning Curious George’s 75th Birthday Bash. I was able to work alongside the staff to coordinate this event and got to see firsthand how events happened at United Way. Press releases, flyers, and bookmarks were produced like crazy leading up to this event, but the 300 smiles we saw that day were worth every paper cut.

Little did I know, the fun did not stop after Curious George…

Being nonprofit, all of our marketing materials are produced in-house. This was a good experience for me to learn how to make and design many different items. My favorite experience was being able to help create marketing materials for the 2016 campaign kickoff! Last year’s run drew in over 1,000 people to the downtown area to raise money for our community, and we are expecting an even BIGGER turn out this year. Our 2016 campaign kickoff will be September 17.  You can always call the United Way office if you are interested in volunteer opportunities or have questions about participating in this event. For updates on The True Color Run like our Facebook page at United Way of West Central Mississippi.


 I have learned so much here at United Way of West Central Mississippi, and I will forever LIVE UNITED.


-Kami May, 2016 Summer Marketing Intern