This semester, I will be taking part in a multimedia internship with a non-profit organization called Team A.Maise, located and operating in the Jacksonville/ St.Augustine area of Florida. The mission statement of the organization is, “Bringing the gift of hope and comfort to the families of patients in the Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Units.” Their goal is to help those families cope with an extremely difficult time in their lives. Currently, Team A.Maise is focusing its efforts on one hospital in Florida but they want to expand to others in the future. The hope that they offer comes in the form of kind gestures like gas station cards, Starbucks cards (they have one in that hospital), snacks, and other comfort items. These items are purchased using donations of items and money from the public through charity events and solicitation. Life can become very hectic for families with a child who is seriously ill in the hospital and Covid-19 has presented even more challenges to those situations. The team consists of 5 members in their board of directors (president, secretary, treasurer, and two directors) along with teams of volunteers and interns who are involved in different activities like transportation and distribution of donated items, event help, and multimedia management (this is where I will be working).
The president and treasurer, Eric and Heather Leide, are a married couple who experienced the loss of their baby, Ashlyn Maise, in November of 2019. While at the hospital, their family was offered gestures of hope and comfort by an organization at the hospital and the Ronald McDonald House, where they were staying with their children to be closer to the hospital. Their experience of receiving hope and kindness during that time inspired them to be part of the action. As a brand new non-profit, they are awaiting IRS approval within the next 60-90 days. This means that for now they cannot accept cash donations without being personally taxed on them, however they are accepting local drop off donations of specific items. This also means that their main focus is on branding themselves. So far, they have a facebook and instagram but would like their own website to operate from. I will be working directly with the social media manager and president through weekly virtual meetings to identify and execute their design needs. They will also be conducting in person board meetings on a regular basis, which i will attend virtually.
I am extremely excited about this internship. I have always been interested in designing for social causes. My interest really peaked when I took Design Studio last fall. For that class, each student created a semester long civic engagement project. For my project I created an organization and program called the Coney Island Climate Avengers that offers free community-based climate safety education for residents in areas most vulnerable to climate change effects. Through my research, I discovered that neighbors often serve as first responders when disasters strike. The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 showed how vulnerable communities like Coney Island are to climate related disasters. The purpose of the Climate Avengers is to give residents the tools, knowledge and training to help themselves and each other during a serious event. I can tell that working with Team A.Maise is going to be great. I believe in their cause and can not wait to create designs that help show the world who they are. Their motto is, “Be A-Maise-ing!” Yes, I can do that!