During my two week stay at ETC as a high school intern, I learned many things, from how to prepare for an audit to what pictures look good for social media posts. Though these things are important, the biggest things that I learned during my time here is about all the things that make ETC unique.
Before my first day with ETC, Colleen, Director of Marketing, gave me instructions about how to find the office, so I was expecting a typical office space with computers on desks set up uniformly. You can imagine my surprise as I pulled open an unlocked door into what looked like a storage unit, with a rack of colorful dresses in front of me and set pieces painted by kids leaning against a wall. I walked further into the office to find stacks of boxes holding art supplies, hats, fabrics, and toy weapons reaching the ceiling. I was welcomed into the office by two enthusiastic young women who shared not only their desks with me, but also any information about ETC that I asked for. At this moment I realized that my ETC experience was going to friendly and welcoming!
As I talked with Colleen and Managing Director Ashley, I was struck by the huge range of programs. From the smallest toddlers to senior citizens, ETC really does provide programs for ages 3-103. What makes this range so impressive is that the people who teach these classes also do so much more, like writing grants or even directing whole programs. This company simply wouldn’t be able to run if everyone didn’t wear so many hats!
The amount of work done in the ETC office would not be possible without all the collaboration that happens here, which was really inspiring to watch. Once a week, teaching artists sit around the big table in the office throwing ideas around and helping each other out with what they’re working on, and it’s is so cool to see.
As an intern, I not only learned about what it takes to run a non-profit with so many programs, but more specifically the dedication that it takes to makes ETC so effective in serving the underserved.