Senior sociology major Victoria Lawton spent her summer working for the Community Intake Center (CIC) for United Way of Forsyth County as part of her participation in Wake Forest’s Nonprofit Immersion Program. The CIC serves as the central point for all homeless individuals to get access to funding for housing and is part of a growing national movement to provide a quicker, coordinated method for helping individuals who are homeless.
“The CIC was less than a year old when I began working with them, so it was an incredibly small organization,” says Victoria. “Thus, I had the ability to be involved in almost all aspects of the organization.”
Through her internship, Victoria came to realize that coordination among organizations is the best way to help the community. Many of these organizations provide great services individually, but when they come together through United Way, they can pool resources and energy to achieve fast and effective change.
The people she met and the stories they shared touch Victoria more than she anticipated when she began her internship. Her very first week at work, she reviewed a case file and discovered that the client was similar to herself. This client had graduated from a great college and had a job but because of one particular event ended up experiencing a period of homelessness for about 18 months.
“This experience opened my eyes and made me realize that at times, events beyond our control can affect our lives and that a support system is needed for everyone to make sure that people can get back on their feet as quickly as possible,” says Victoria.
She believes that people should contribute to United Way because of the dedicated staff and the results they achieve. “I have personally seen the amount of energy each individual at United Way devotes to his or her role often going above and beyond their specified responsibilities,” says Victoria. “By contributing to United Way, you can ensure that your contributions will be used to alleviate problems through the use of data-driven solutions carried out by extremely caring and devoted individuals.”
After she graduates from Wake Forest in May, Victoria will pursue a career in the nonprofit sector working with women and children.