After close to 10 years of lecturing visiting groups of college students who toured the prisons I have been warehoused in and found the United Black Family Scholarship Foundation, I knew that because of my incarceration I would have to develop a strategic plan to recruit top-level volunteers and potential employees for our organization.
One day I was sitting in my cell thinking about my college experience. Prior to being incarcerated, I was a full-time student at Laney College in Oakland California. I was a business major studying music business management. As I sat in my cell thinking about my former school days, I realized that for most students there was this disconnect between what they learned in the classroom and available field study programs. That is when it hit me: were there any internship programs being offered at any community colleges or universities?
And if so, to what extent do they provide students a quality educational experience? It was time to do some investigation into the matter.
The first thing I set out to do was to conduct some preliminary research on internship programs offered by both nonprofits and corporations, labor laws, and the overall scope of what these internship programs entail. What did I find? What did the programs offer? How long were they? These were just a few questions I sought answers to. Eventually, I discovered that there were not very many internship opportunities being offered at the community college level and that those offered at most universities amounted to grudge work.
Once I completed my initial investigation, I gave ample consideration to what type of experience we wanted to create for our interns at the UBFSF. I asked myself, how could we create a competitive program that would give students an unforgettable and transformative experience? And what were our human resource needs? After establishing our committees, we were able to identify and develop an internship program for:
- Finance & Resource Development.
- Program & Public Policy Development.
- Volunteer & Staff Training Development.
- Media & Marketing Development.
To develop the internship programs, we then conducted an extensive study so as create a curriculum and curriculum outline for each. Fortunately, these tasks were fairly easy given the fact that I had taught and developed various writing workshops in prison for close to two decades and had some pretty awesome student volunteers. Also, I had already completed an extensive study in grant writing and program proposal writing which allowed me to identify several grants writing books, etc., and to develop, for example, our Resource & Finance Development Internship Program curriculum.
Next, we turned to the task of drafting the outlines. Here, we identified the need for a:
- Program’s summary.
- Academic requirements
- Personnel requirements
- and of course, a work plan.
In addition, I worked with our organization’s consultant Glenn E. Martin, CEO of GEM Trainers, to develop a two-day Nonprofit Training & Leadership Conference which was held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in March 2020. We also scheduled presentations by our board of directors and other professionals. Once this was completed, it was now time to put the program to the test.
Fortunately, my contacts within the California University system had provided me with a plethora of students who often sought me to do interviews for their term papers. So I used this opportunity to approach one of them, as noted above, and request that he not only assist to develop and manage the program but also assist me to recruit students for it.
Thereafter, we brainstormed, developed an internship flyer detailing the program, and identified a faculty member who oversaw student communications in the Sociology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This faculty member later agreed to email our flyer to the entire student body in the department. This landed us our first three interns for the pilot. It was a wrap after that!
The first-semester Finance & Resource Development intern pilot allowed us to identify our strengths and weaknesses and areas of improvement. Even more, the student volunteers raised some $2500. Instantly, the program grew into 10 interns by the second time we did another pilot the next semester. Of course, we learned the dangers of scaling too fast. Nevertheless, the program was a major success in achieving our organization’s goals and objectives.
After years of careful preparation, study and building relationships with organizations, professors, and students across the nation, our internship programs are at various stages of development at universities across the nation. And most notably, our Finance & Resource Development Internship Program was recently accepted at the University of California, Irvine Social Ecology Field Study Program. Not bad for a guy sitting in a prison cell for the past 21 years[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://linktr.ee/IvanKilgore?fbclid=IwAR2yxdZj38u2K-tlrzDAREdjp7BNyQ_S2upMMk98epLziEfE_R4Cbyrty90[/author_image] [author_info]Ivan Kilgore was born and raised in Wewoka, Oklahoma. His grandparents were charitable people who taught him the importance of social and economic institutions through the establishment of their own church and business. Today, he spends 23 hours a day locked in a prison cell in Northern California. Having been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison, he stands as a beacon of inspiration for those determined not to allow circumstance to curtail their ability to make a positive contribution to society. Through much tenacity and opposition, he is truly an exception to the norm having founded and established the United Black Family Scholarship Foundation from within prison walls. An accomplished author, lecturer, and advocate for human rights, his passion to write is driven by a need to survive; a need to understand and navigate the political, historical, and cultural forces that operate to hold him captive–both physically and mentally. Without question, the ink that spills from his pen is a reality check! His writings are confrontational, in that, they expose the fallacy of a common worldview tainted by a lack of compassion and morality. [/author_info] [/author]
If you’re building a nonprofit organization and you want or need consulting or development of such a program, please contact us. Learn more How to diminish your student loans by volunteering for a non-profit organization.