July 11, 2014

Organizational Culture, Non-Profit Work & Self-Care

by Maya Finoh

Maya Finoh '17 is working with the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless (RICH) through an iProv Summer Internship.

  • As I reflect on the last five weeks I’ve been living and working in Providence, one of the greatest aspects of my experience has been the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless (RICH)’s distinct office culture. Social justice and non-profit work can be heavy and emotionally taxing if you don't look after your emotional and mental well-being. Fortunately however, you don't see this at RICH: this organization is fundamentally built upon passion, collaboration, and radical self-care.
  • At lunchtime, instead of employees dispersing or working through the hour, we all congregate in a conference room and break bread together: we talk, we laugh, and we bond.
  • During a planning meeting, an employee of RICH asked the interns for our opinion on an event the Coalition is in the midst of planning— the opinions and ideas of interns at the RICH office are professionally valued and respected in a way that’s genuine and deliberately inclusive.
  • One of the first things my supervisor advised my fellow interns and I to do when we first arrived was to be okay with not knowing the answer. RICH isn’t competitive, it’s an environment that thrives off teamwork and learning from one another.
  • At RICH, there is a group of people dedicated to ending homelessness in Rhode Island. Those people also make sure to follow the unwritten rule of taking the entire office’s order whenever they go grab something to eat. Regardless of day or time, you’ll find advocacy, outreach, loving-kindness, and great humor here.

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