Interning at the New Orleans Abortion Fund for the past six months has taught me not only the importance of reproductive rights work in the local community, but also the value of recognizing your own accomplishments and commitment to the cause. At times I have felt very disheartened by the lack of tangible change based on my own hard work, but I have been so lucky to have an incredible team to support and encourage me throughout this journey. It is a stepping stone to realize that the work you are doing is valid and appreciated, even in the smallest of ways.
There will be many events that you organize and no one shows up, social media posts that get inadequate shares, or protesters standing on the sidelines determined that you are the definition of immorality. This does not determine your self worth or discredit your ability to achieve your goals.
This semester, I took on the challenge of revitalizing NOAF’s canvassing volunteer program. When you are passionate about a cause, but an introvert at heart, having the courage to talk to strangers about controversial topics can be terrifying. Having the strength to push myself out of my comfort zone in this position is something that I am very proud of and I also had the opportunity to canvass with Planned Parenthood and learn from their strategies. Creating community support around canvassing has and continues to be a long process, but I have confidence that it will pay off in the long run.
As an intern just starting off at an organization, it can be embarrassing and nerve wracking to not achieve the results that you were hoping for, but I have come to realize that everyone starts off their career and passion somewhere, and this starting point is not always one of success.