“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
Before I began my fellowship at Phone2Action, I was immersed in a 2 week training camp with The Urban Alliance and The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. There, I was prepared for the 6 week job experience I was going to encounter. I was trained on professional dress, etiquette, and formal communication skills in a work environment. At the end of the training, the location of my fellowship was revealed: Phone2Action! At first, I was not too thrilled because my perception of Phone2Action was that it was mainly a tech company. I thought there would be no correlation to my concentration in social work. Regardless of my assumptions, I knew I had to make a good impression not only for myself, but because I was also representing two organizations that trained me for this opportunity.
First Impressions at a Tech Company
The very first day of my fellowship the assumptions and the anxiety I had built up would completely disappear. Phone2Action was the total opposite of what I expected. Everyone was so welcoming and vibrant. The office space is far from a traditional setting, with diversity, modern features, and a less formal workspace. My first day consisted of learning more about Phone2Action, and I was placed with the sales and marketing team. When I learned about the company’s grassroots advocacy platform, I was sold. It confirmed why I was placed here—from that day forward, I knew this was the right fellowship for me.
During the course of my fellowship at Phone2Action, I engaged in intense research. Being able to explore the internet and scan the news was eye-opening. I examined all sorts of current events and read about many issues faced by Americans today. Coming into Phone2Action I knew nothing about politics. But doing this research everyday and being a part of this company, I’ve learned so many new things about the world around me—tangentially, I’ve learned new things about myself, too.
Working in a fast-paced yet professional environment has taught me about adaptation. When it came to using all the different tools to conduct research, I had no clue how to operate them. I preferred working alone instead of working with a team. Lastly, I would rather advocate for others than speak up for myself. Now I am proficient in research, I value teamwork, and found that voicing my opinion is significant. I can use this fresh set of skills and values anywhere my life may take me. My position here as a research fellow is just the first step for me, and it leads to me achieving my aspirations of becoming a Social Worker.
Union between Phone2Action & Social Work
I was oblivious to the concept of grassroots advocacy and the importance of policy engagement up until my first day at Phone2Action. Overtime, I gained a deeper understanding of the company’s platform. Additionally, I realized how similar it is to social work. I always had a passion for advocating for others. At a young age, growing up in Ward 8 of Washington, D.C., I was exposed to a variety of issues that people tend to struggle with. Seeing how the lives of people around me played out, I knew I wanted to be an advocate for the future generations who would grow up in my city.
Not everyone had the resources to achieve a higher or even a secondary education. Despite that, I made it my priority to be a first-generation college student by obtaining all the degrees I may need in order to achieve my goal. In this current political climate, making a difference in the world is essential to change. Phone2Action has allowed me to distinguish first-hand how advocating for others can make a difference. Being at Phone2Action has contributed to my desire of helping others, and truly being the change I wish to see in the world.
About the Author
Camille Shorter is a 2018 Civic Tech Fellow. She is a Lead Research Associate Fellow and is a part of the Sales and Marketing team. She was born and raised in the Southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. This upcoming fall she will be a junior at The Winston Salem State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work. She received this Fellowship through her scholarship with The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. Camille has been granted an offer to continue her time with Phone2Action after the 6 week program with The Economic Club. She accepted this offer and plans on using the opportunity to gain experience leading up to her career in Social Work.
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