“Reflections on the 2019 NPCC” – Anh Nguyet Phan ’21

“If I had the chance to become a CBL intern, I wish to not only explore but also spread Worcester’s beauty and diversity among the student body here at Holy Cross.” I remember expressing this during my CBL interview. To this day, I remain passionate about this. Within the past several months, I was able to achieve this in a multitude of ways, which is only made possible by being a part of CBL in the Donelan Office.

One way that I was able to experience and bring a little bit of Worcester back to the hill was by volunteering at a local elementary school called, Woodland Academy. Volunteering at Woodland Academy was a trip down memory lane for me, because it was actually my elementary school. Woodland Academy is very close to my heart because is it the place that taught me my first English word and allowed me to fall in love with learning. To this day, I not only love attending classes and expanding my knowledge, but I also love going out and learning about my community, and what I can do to better it. At Woodland, I tutor sixth graders on the subject of math. The two hours that I get to spend at Woodland is what I look forward to most. The grand smiles that I get to witness after the students bravely conquer a math problem truly make my day. Being able to observe Woodland and the significant impact they are having on these students’ life makes me very proud of where I came from.

In addition to volunteering at Woodland Academy each week, I was also fortunate enough to be able to experience another aspect of Worcester through the 2019 Non-Profit Careers Conference (NPCC). This particular conference served to introduce participants to the wide range of career options in the non-profit sector, engage participants upon reflections on how they can implement their skills in service to the broader society, and prepare them for public service by providing various experiences and skills. The main reason I was interested in the NPCC is because of my strong desire to serve my community and learn more about the non-profit sector. Before the NPCC, I was not very educated on the various options out there, nor the business side of non-profits. In fact, I did not think there were any career options in the non-profit sector for dentists, which is the field I am currently pursuing. Just a few days in, I was proven wrong. There are so many organizations and services that I can take part in, and if I wanted to, I can even start my own organization, which was something the NPCC relayed to the students. From networking and talking to Holy Cross alumna, Amy Fitzpatrick, I learned how important it was to be passionate about the mission that I will be participating in, to know about the business part of non-profits, and, lastly, how to write grant proposals. The Non-Profit Careers Conference solidified my desires to work for a mission, rather than a paycheck.

In addition to equipping participants with various skills needed to succeed in the non-profit sector, participants were also placed in groups to work with a community partner in Worcester. I was fortunate enough to work with four other Holy Cross students to aid the St. Mary Health Care Center, which is a Catholic rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility near the Main South neighborhood of Worcester. The challenge that St. Mary and Metz, St. Mary’s food service provider, is currently facing is that residents, their families, and staff are giving feedback that the meal selection is limited. In addition to this, some residents, especially Spanish residents, do not understand what meals are offered and the alternative options. Lastly, St. Mary staffs work hard to serve hot meals to the residents during meal times; however, once residents actually receive their meals, the food is sometimes cold. To assess this challenge, we conducted a survey to find out more about the residents, their families, and the staff’s opinion on the dining and eating experiences. Specifically, we focused on the seven key areas of Metz food service, which includes the quality of food, variety of food, temperature of food, quality of service, friendliness of staff, accuracy of order, and attention to residents’ needs. With this, the team pooled the data together and were not only able to successfully present it to the St. Mary staff, but also gave some suggestions as to how they can approach the feedback they received. It was truly an honor to work with St. Mary and their residents, who made me feel at home while talking to them one on one. I cannot say enough about my experiences at the NPCC, and I hope that people take advantage of this amazing opportunity next year!

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