Friday, January 22, 2010

Intern's Voice, Martiria Monteiro

At GAA everybody has a job title, but the interesting thing about working here is that your days are never the same. During my daily 10 minutes walk from Grand Central every morning, I wonder what my day will be like and which task I should prioritize that day. For someone who gets bored easily, GAA was perfect for me. There's always something new and lots of fun.

My name is Martiria Monteiro; I have been an intern at GAA since July 1, 2009. Initially I signed on for 3 month length internship, but when it came close to ending I didn't feel ready to leave so I extended my internship for another 3 months. Unfortunately that time has come again. Although I am sad to be leaving GAA, I'm extremely fortunate for the opportunity I had to work for such as amazing organization. And my departure will give another lucky person the wonderful chance to experience some of the great things that I've encountered.

I learned of GAA's internship opportunity from my career counselor at Berkeley College where I am currently finishing my Bachelor's degree in International Business. When I first read about GAA's mission and work I was definitely impressed and had an immediate interest on the topic of older persons. I was working at a nursing home at that moment, but I wasn't sure how I could be of any help to GAA. Shortly after my interview and training session, I was excited to be part of this team and the movement to help make a difference.

As the administrative assistant at GAA, I am in charge of most of the secretarial tasks, for example, scanning and filing donation checks, preparing thank you letters, and creating the weekly web statistics reports.

I am also in charge of our mid-week newsletter. After I mentioned to Susanne and Magali that I would like to have more work, I was granted the opportunity to work on the Spanish section of our website: I would research articles about healthin English and pension world in Spanish and then post them.

This was great because it gave me the chance to continue to improve my Spanish language skills, which by the way was not my primary language.

The great thing about GAA is that there are constant tasks and challenges that help expand one's technical and interpersonal skills as well. During my 6 months at GAA I took part in the Sub-committee to Promote a Human Rights Convention on Aging. The Sub-committee mission is to inform others on the need for a convention on the rights of older persons. Aside from composing the monthly meeting procedural minutes, I have also been in charge of putting together an excel sheet with the names and contact information of all the NGOs with an interest in the topic of older persons so that the committee can reach out to them and encourage them to join the movement toward a convention. This has been a lengthy project because there are about 2,300 NGOs to search for, but the thought of how my work will help the committee is just absolutely amazing. By helping the committee I will aid NGOs worldwide, which then will help governments, that will help older persons and help make this world a safe and better place for everyone. So therefore I will have made a difference.

I will forever be grateful to GAA for the knowledge and experiences I have gained, for the friendships I have made and for opening my eyes up to the importance of human rights and for the different perspective I have on life now. Although I am leaving GAA, I know that my relationship with GAA is not over. I will carry this experience with me forever and I will always have GAA and the issue of older persons in mind.

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