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Alison Brantley - 11/19/2017

Bona Vista Programs has many volunteer groups and community partners that I have bragged on in past articles. We continue to gain new ones each day. Some come in for a couple of hours to do a community service project; some are here because of school internships. We appreciate them all, but today I want to tell you about one volunteer I’ve had the pleasure of working with and the impact she’s already having on our organization.

Her name is Zoë Wainscott. She’s a senior at Kokomo High School and a student at the Kokomo Area Career Center. This semester, she is my intern in the Development Department. It’s hard to explain what we do in the Development Department. Every single day is different and can range from creating new marketing materials to putting on a special event for the community to attending meetings or even spending time in a preschool classroom taking pictures.

Each day you come in with a plan, and by the end of the day you look at the original plan and laugh. We operate with an extreme sense of urgency, change direction at a moment’s notice, and make things happen behind the scenes for every program Bona Vista operates. So, I’m making us sound like some incredible super heroes -- and it’s not quite that dramatic -- but to add someone into the mix and expect them to step up to that level or to be as flexible as the rest of the team, that’s asking a lot.

Zoë is all of that and so much more. She does whatever we need. She doesn’t blink when we ask her to do something random or a task that may seem mundane. She understands that every job we ask her to do serves a purpose, that every flier she hangs or call she makes is vital to what we do. She’s an amazing team player, and we could not be more excited that she chose us for her internship. Yes, you read that correctly. Zoë and another classmate came to visit for approximately an hour one time the previous semester. She went back to her teacher, told him she wanted her senior internship to be at Bona Vista, and here we are. We had never had an intern from the Kokomo Area Career Center before, but now we have an amazing partnership.

Because of her, our Bona Vista Bistro crew is working with Todd Saylor’s culinary arts students to plan, execute, and serve appetizers at an upcoming fund raiser that Zoë is putting on to benefit Bona Vista (more details to come later, but mark your calendar for Thursday, Dec. 7, for an amazing opportunity to shop and support Bona Vista). Not only is she planning an event that will benefit the adults we serve at Bona Vista, but she also is including the adults in that event! It’s about to be one of the major highlights of my time so far as an employee here.

I could go on and on about the work she has done at Bona Vista in her short time with us. She’s completed art projects with our adult persons served; she’s created bulletin boards that line the walls of our preschool. She’s made uncomfortable cold calls for sponsorships; she’s learned how to conduct herself in a professional manner during meetings (and about how important those connections are). But above all she’s learned that working for a nonprofit is more than just a job. It’s your passion.

It’s her passion, and it shows. Now, I don’t know what Zoë will end up doing after graduation or even during her second semester internship. Life happens. Minds change. Paths get forks in the road. But, what I do know is that the people we serve are better, our organization is better, and I’m better because she chose us.