Financial Education for a Housing Non-Profit Organization

Sahnobiah Swaso
Emphasis Area
Business Administration

Sahnobiah Swaso collaborated with the financial education team within the non-profit organization Family Housing Resources to conduct research and develop project management skills.

How did you get your internship?

The PAH 383 Pre-Internship: Building Career Readiness course really helped me to find and apply to an internship. Being that the midterm assignment was to find a position and create a resume and cover letter, I took advantage of the opportunity to actually apply. I utilized Handshake (the university database for internships and jobs) to search within my interest and saw that Family Housing Resources (FHR) had many different positions available. Though I originally interviewed for the position of grant researcher, the director of programs and operations saw where I could assist in developing a new program. 

What is unique about your situation that influenced your internship selection or experience? 

I always knew that I wanted an internship with a non-profit organization. I wanted a chance to learn more about how these organizations operated while also being a part of serving a community. However, I also had family obligations and unreliable transportation, so I knew that a remote internship would be ideal for me. FHR was very flexible and allowed me to work remotely and set my own schedule. In addition, their financial education program was hosted virtually, which gave me the opportunity to witness first-hand how they connect with the community they serve. 

What was the focus of your work?

My main task was to assist in developing a new program geared toward teaching parents and their children financial literacy together. It required a significant amount of research and taught me a lot about the details that go into developing something that is efficient and impactful.  After seeing what was currently available and not seeing anything that reflected our mission or the community’s needs, we decided to build a new curriculum. I never created a lesson plan before, so I was nervous but eager to give it my best. I created PowerPoints and activities to be taught virtually, meaning it had to be engaging for the younger demographic. With tons of encouragement and feedback from the team, I was able to complete the material for the course. 

What skills did you develop in your internship?

This experience really pushed me to build my research, project management, communication, presenting, relationship building, and organizational skills. Weekly team and staff meetings not only allowed me to be a better collaborator but held me accountable when it came to developing a project. As a person who is typically more reserved, working with FHR pushed me out of my comfort zone in a very needed way. My supervisor also gave me a tip that public speaking is a great transferable skill to have. The organization had something called “shared leadership” which separated the staff into cross-departmental teams that would present a topic of their choice in a staff meeting. They gave me the opportunity to join one of those teams which was a great experience. 

How was your internship related to your Applied Humanities degree?

I feel that the internship complimented my degree and experience really well. Family Housing Resource’s mission is to “create lasting solutions to help individuals and families reach financial freedom through housing support, education, and partnership”. As an Applied Humanities major, I enjoyed the chance to see how an organization could address a social need from multiple angles. I worked with the financial education team, which also allowed me to apply the knowledge that I acquired from my Business Administration emphasis. Teaching financial literacy to the community and creating the space for improvement is a great example of Applied Humanities at work. 

How did your Applied Humanities major coursework help prepare you or give you unique insight for the internship experience?

The Applied Humanities coursework placed a lot of emphasis on how to improve the human condition through research. I learned about how to construct an ethical and efficient research project, which came in handy when I was tasked with developing a new program. Creating a survey to assess the needs of the community made a huge difference in how we proceeded with the project. In addition, we discussed and practiced social entrepreneurship. I was able to reference what I learned from that and apply it to FHR’s mission to create a multigenerational course that had not been developed before. 

What advice do you have for other students as they search for and begin their internship?

My first piece of advice would be to utilize the resources provided in the PAH 383 Pre-Internship: Building Career Readiness course. At numerous moments in this process, I was able to look back at resources I had saved that really helped me in my search.

I would also say to not be afraid to make mistakes and use the opportunity to learn and try new things. Lastly, genuinely enjoying the work that you’re doing is a great motivator. In moments where I wasn’t sure of myself or my ability, I was able to persevere because I was invested in the result.