Last week, United Way of Long Island’s marketing and community impact interns got a chance to experience three of the organization’s programs firsthand. The group took a trip to the YouthBuild classroom, E3 SmartBuild Training Center and community partner Pronto.
Through the offsite trip, each interned gained a more comprehensive understanding of United Way of Long Island’s efforts and how their work contributes to advancing the common good of Long Island. Here’s what the interns took away:
Daniel, Marketing Intern
Over time, I’ve learned to trust my five senses over my reading comprehension. But during my first month at United Way of Long Island, I was constrained to the latter. I came to understand the organization and its programs primarily by reading the website and sitting in on meetings and phone calls. Occasionally, I was fortunate enough to learn through presentations.
That is, until last Wednesday’s off-site trip. With stops at United Way’s YouthBuild classroom, E3 SmartBuild Training Center and a local community partner, the day gave me an opportunity to see United Way in action. After spending a month reading about building a better Long Island community through health, education and financial stability, Wednesday’s trip gave me a chance to see what that means firsthand.
I won’t soon forget the sound of a YouthBuild teacher creating a better future for her students, the smell of the fresh wood in the SmartBuild lab striving for net zero energy, and the sight of a local food distribution and thrift center providing life essentials. The experience brought my cubicle computer screen to life, adding the sincerity of faces and places to the work we do at United Way of Long Island.
Experiencing these programs in person allowed me to see United Way from a different angle and appreciate the organization’s work on a deeper level. The profound impact on local lives is undeniable, and the opportunity to directly contribute within my own community is invaluable.
Samara, Community Impact Intern
This field trip was truly an eye-opener and a great way to see how United Way of Long Island works throughout many communities in need. I learned so much about how each place impacts people in the community for the better.
At YouthBuild, I had the opportunity to gain a better understanding how the TASC and GED work while getting to hear from students who are currently studying for these tests. It was great to learn how that program can enhance their futures and lead them to careers rather than just jobs.
Similar to YouthBuild, we went to SmartBuild Training Center, where we toured the center and learned all about how United Way of Long Island stays at the top 1% nationwide in home energy efficiency. Most of the houses produce more energy than they use.
Lastly, we visited a nonprofit called Pronto. Founded by Christian leaders, Pronto’s mission is to feed the hungry, clothe the needy, welcome all strangers, and provide healing and hope to all those who need. They host numerous events that bring the community together each year.
The trip gave me great insight into how United Way of Long Island helps people in the communities, whether they’re students who dropped out of high school looking to have a livelihood for themselves, to people in need of a home, and to the needy looking for assistance in any area of their lives.
Nick, Marketing Intern
Since I began my internship at United Way, I was familiar with many of the programs we support. However, while working from the office, I could only read and learn about our work, so it was an honor and a great experience to tour these wonderful facilities in person. We made stops at the YouthBuild School, the E3 SmartBuild Training Center and community partner Pronto.
One part of the day that will certainly stick with me was visiting the E3 SmartBuild Training Center. Inside the facility, veterans and YouthBuild students are trained to build smart energy-efficient homes. During the tour, an emphasis on efficiency was clear. It’s easy to see why the program has helped build multiple homes which earned accolades from the U.S. Department of Energy.
At Pronto, I was really impressed by the organization’s ability to provide more than just the immediate assistance – like food distribution and thrift clothing — that they already excel at. Pronto is planning more than 20 upcoming events for the Brentwood community that include movie nights, holiday festivities and even a day of remembrance for their local heroes.
Afterwards, we came back to the office for lunch with some of our staff and the students from YouthBuild. While we ate lunch, we learned more about some of the goals and aspirations of the YouthBuild students, which ranged from earning a CDL license to become a commercial truck driver to launching a clothing line.
It was a great day to visualize the programs that we work with so much and to learn more about United Way’s history during our lunch.
Michael, Community Impact Intern
Going on the orientation tour and visiting United Way’s partner agencies was really an eye-opener. A few of my favorite aspects visiting the E3 and meeting the students at YouthBuild. Visiting the SmartBuild lab and seeing how everything worked, especially the net zero energy homes, was truly inspiring.
Not only does it demonstrate having a well-constructed home but it also goes easy on your financial situation for you not to have to pay for electricity. It truly convinced me to look into it when I get older and decide to own a home. Additionally, seeing the way things worked such as the lines of water in the ground producing heat and the air filters really satisfied my curiosity and how I was able to use my prior knowledge and make connections.
My biggest highlight was the YouthBuild classroom. Seeing people taking time to help others, who may have not had the same opportunity to pursue their education, was truly motivating. Even more respect to those who are willing to endure the hardships they took on to try and fight for a better life than what they have. It truly made me consider wanting to step into the educational field in the future to help those in need.
Sean, Marketing Intern
Last week, my fellow interns and I got the opportunity to visit Pronto Food pantry and thrift store, the YouthBuild suite and massive E3 Smartbuild training center. Pronto is one of the selfless partners of United Way of Long Island. Their motto especially stood out to me, “Feed the hungry, clothe the needy, and welcome all strangers.”
At YouthBuild, we got a very detailed and heartfelt description of the program from the head professor, who touched on potential adversity the students enrolled could have withstood before coming here. It was a special place with an exorbitant amount of love and support surrounding the students trying to make their way.
The E3 Smartbuild training center had me in awe. It is a massive warehouse, with a model house built on the inside with nothing but state of the art appliances. It’s here where the students of YouthBuild can learn trades and even earn different types of certifications in construction disciplines. The man who teaches these hardworking people is Stephen Muzyka, who knew everything and more about construction and home building.
I really enjoyed getting firsthand experience while visiting these people and places. Another humbling day spent the United Way of Long Island and a nice break from the office life I’ve quickly grown accustomed to.