Interning at CCSA Offers More Than Just Opportunity

A young girl walks on a bridge

Child Care Services Association (CCSA) works to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality child care for all young children and their families, and those that educate them. And we’re always looking for fresh ideas and new ways to do just that. CCSA often hires interns from surrounding colleges and universities to help drive our goals, better understand our communities and support future leadership. With the onset of COVID-19, the opportunity to work remotely allowed five interns from across North Carolina to join us this summer.

Andrea Santiago

The intern for the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center was Andrea Santiago, a rising junior studying psychology and English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from Union, N.J.

Andrea said, “Through my remote work with the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center, I have been able to gain numerous insights on the early childhood workforce and the non-profit sector. By engaging in discussions on updating website materials, strategizing a new approach for the I Make a Difference Campaign, and increasing accessibility to dual-language speakers, I have been able to expand my understanding and learn a few ways on how to best serve underserved communities like the early childhood workforce. Furthermore, I have been given a glimpse into the inner workings of T.E.A.C.H., as well as what is necessary to ensure an up-to-date, well-connected and well-driven [program] that thrives in serving our nation’s essential workforce.”

Destiny Harden

Destiny Harden, from Selma, N.C., joined us as the strategic planning and homelessness intern. She majored in international studies with a minor in public health and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte last May.

“This opportunity allowed me to discuss ideas about the future of CCSA and help develop information to research legislation about homelessness in the state,” Destiny said. “In a short amount of time, I learned about CCSA and its many efforts with programs, projects and initiatives that have had an impact in many different areas. Even though this internship was remote, I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to promote positive change on issues dealing with child care and homelessness. This was a very rewarding experience and I’m glad I was able to be a part of CCSA.”

Destiny’s plan after interning with CCSA was to join the Peace Corps as a Youth Health Advisor in Malawi, Africa, but due to COVID-19, it is postponed. In the meantime, she now begins work with AmeriCorps in their City Year program with schools in Jacksonville, Fla.

Kayla Blanfort

Kayla Blanfort, from Greensboro, N.C., joined as the food services marketing intern for our CCSA Meal Services Program. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte last May with a degree in communication studies.

Kayla shared, “This summer I have been working with the Meal Services Program as the Food Services Marketing Intern, creating a marketing plan to rebrand and bring more awareness to the program. While interning with CCSA, I had the opportunity to tour the Durham kitchen and learn about the daily operations of the program as well as the impact it has on the community. I also gained more of an understanding of what food insecurity is and how it affects a child’s development and the inadequacy that parents can feel as they struggle to provide food for their families. Going forward, I am hoping that I can combine my marketing/public relations skills with my new found passion for social policy to support young children and families in need.”

Kayla planned to start working full-time in a marketing or public relations role after interning with CCSA. However, after completing her internship, Kayla said, “I’ve gained an interest in social policy because of my passion for working with children and I want to do more work in this field.” She has decided to continue on in a volunteer capacity for CCSA this fall. We are lucky to have her.

Stephen Pierce

The summer intern for CCSA’s Development Department was Stephen Pierce from Arden, N.C., a rising sophomore studying English and communications at Western Carolina University.

“Interning at the Child Care Services Association taught me that I can use my skills to help people in a way I never fully realized was possible,” Stephen said. “I also gained valuable experience working on a team which ought to be useful in my future careers. I’m glad to have had the chance to spend this summer a little more productively, and I hope my efforts have left an impact during this unprecedented crisis.”

Sydney Frost, from Winston Salem, N.C., joined us as the summer communications intern. She is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in English and comparative literature with a minor in social and economic justice.

Sydney Frost

Sydney said, “I was drawn to CCSA’s summer communications internship because of my affinity for writing and volunteering with children; however, over the course of the summer, I discovered a rewarding job that I love to do. I was mentored by the communications manager, Jennifer Gioia, and her passion for the work inspired me every step of the way. I had the opportunity to help implement and evaluate several projects, including the launch campaign for CCSA’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, their new website and a voter registration PR plan. The most rewarding part of this summer was speaking with essential child care providers, who received a grant from the CCSA COVID-19 Relief Fund, and writing a blog post about how this investment back into individuals made a significant impact on communities during the pandemic. This internship has been a fun and rewarding experience for me, and I hope to continue pursuing nonprofit communication roles that improve lives and serve communities in the future.”

We are excited to have Sydney also continue working as a volunteer with CCSA this fall.

Interns and volunteers contribute a great deal to CCSA’s work. If you are interested in interning or volunteering at CCSA, please contact us.