Internship at Non-profit a Good Fit

Aug 08, 2018


Keavy BaylorInternships are a great way to stand in someone else's shoes and find out if a possible career path is a good fit. Just ask Randolph-Macon College student Keavy Baylor '19.

Baylor is doing an internship at Soles4Souls VA/DC Regional Donation Center in Richmond. The non-profit collects used shoes to support micro-enterprises that help women earn sustainable incomes by selling the shoes in their villages and marketplaces. Since its inception in 2006, Soles4Souls (S4S) has distributed over 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries and all 50 states.

Baylor worked with staff from The EDGE, R-MC's four-year career preparation program, to secure her internship.

Buddy Teaster '86, CEO of S4S, lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where the organization's headquarters is located. Baylor is interning under the guidance of Stephanie Hathaway, manager of the Richmond center.

A Heart for Humanitarian Work
Baylor, an international studies major and Spanish minor, is helping Soles4Souls create a strong social media presence, and she works closely to make connections with the community.

"I am learning how a non-profit operates and how important thoughtful philanthropy is on the world stage," says Baylor. "In a short time, I have learned to think about the world in a deeper, more thoughtful way."

At a shoe drive that she recently organized in partnership with the Peninsula Pilots baseball team in Hampton, Virginia, Baylor set up bins at the entry points of the ballpark, so fans could drop off shoes. More than 50 pairs were donated.

"It was wonderful to experience firsthand the generosity of others," says Baylor, "and to spread the word about the great things that Soles4Souls is doing."

Baylor and Hathaway work together in the donation center, which functions as a warehouse and office space. Each week, volunteers help out in the warehouse, pairing shoes and getting them ready to make their way to the 127 countries that Soles4Souls partners with. Volunteers also work on building community connections and are currently planning a fall event at the warehouse to raise awareness about Soles4Souls.

"Stephanie is the best supervisor I could possibly ask for," says Baylor, a Presidential Scholarship recipient. "Everyone at Soles4Souls shares a desire to thoughtfully help those in need."

Hathaway says, "Keavy is an absolute dream! She is incredibly thoughtful and intelligent. She quickly understood the many layers of Soles4Souls and dove right in. I was recently away for a week traveling with S4S to Guatemala to distribute new shoes to children in impoverished schools. Keavy ran the show while I was away, which, after just a month of interning, is extremely impressive. I have no doubt that she will continue to do amazing things to aid in making the world a better place."

Campus Life + Next Steps
Three times a week during the academic year, Baylor laces up her tennis shoes and serves as a Yellow Jacket tour guide—a role that suits her outgoing personality and love for the outdoors.

"I like knowing that I might be the person who introduces prospective students to the college that can be their home for the next four years," she says.

Baylor's post-R-MC plans are another step in the right direction: She plans to apply to the Fulbright Scholar Program. "I'd like to teach English abroad," says Baylor, who studied abroad in Spain in spring 2018. "I'd also love to work with a non-profit organization or do humanitarian work abroad."

R-MC Internships = Real-World Experience
A vital part of the R-MC experience is experiential learning. Internships offer a real-world setting for connecting academic learning with the workplace.

Internships allow students to explore a career path before committing to it; network, practice career skills, and expand learning beyond the classroom; discover interests and capabilities; and make confident choices about the future.