By Natalie Wolf
My name is Natalie Wolf and I am a junior here at George Mason University, graduating in May of 2018. I am a Sociology major with a double minor in Nonprofit Studies and Women and Gender Studies. I hope to work with nonprofits in the DC area bettering my community around me with a focus on social justice. In addition I am studying American Sign Language, and hope to continue my love for the language after college.
For my nonprofit sector class, I choose Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) as my service site. I went to the GMU Service Fair on September 9th and meet two wonderful NVFS representatives, who I now work under. NVFS is a private nonprofit organization that has been running since 1924. NVFS works to create sustainable financial and social independence for families and individuals in Northern Virginia. This organization is the perfect service site for Mason students as NVFS programs help a wide variety of needs. Some programs include, Anti-Hunger, Homelessness, Housing, Child Placement, Health and Mental Health Services, Legal Services, Multicultural Center, Early Childhood Services, and even Workforce Development Services. I worked with the development team, specifically with programs that help families in the holiday season.
The first main project I worked on was Operation Turkey, a program that provides Thanksgiving meals to more than 800 families in Prince William County. I am so grateful that NVFS let me take such a large hand in helping with this drive. On my first day I was the person who contacted all Prince William County schools in their participation for food donations, and every week I would follow up on the process. I was able to see all of the development team and my own work come together for such a successful event that fed so many families this Thanksgiving. I also worked with our program Empty Bowls, a national event that educates on local hunger and helps those less fortunate. One of the final projects I worked on with NVFS was Gifting for Families which ensures more than 2,100 children in Northern Virginia receive gifts for the holiday season.
I was fortunate to have an internship with a nonprofit this Fall semester that had such large programs to take on. NFVS is a wonderful place to reach out to for a service site as they work so well with your schedule and making sure what you are working on is something that will benefit your future. As an organization that has been running for almost 90 years, it’s an honor to work with such a successful business that has continually helped improve our own community. The service site is perfect for a nonprofit minor, as it connects to the course lessons. As we discussed things such as managing staff, grants, or marketing, I was able to connect it to my own service site. I cannot imagine a better service site that I would work with, NVFS treated me like an employee and taught me wonderful experience.