The Possibility Project offers internships for college and high school students that provide training in both administrative and artistic areas. Students spend at least one semester, often two, gaining meaningful experience with event preparation, information systems, youth development, directing, video editing, and general administration.
Joyce Gendler, Summer 2010
Joyce is a rising Junior in New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, whose concentration is “Using Arts in Education to Advocate Activism and Social Change in Urban Settings.” She has been working in the New York office as an administrative intern since June 2010.
TPP: What made you interested in doing an internship at The Possibility Project?
JG: Through past experiences interning and volunteering at cultural institutions as well as creating programs and clubs for teenagers in New York City, I have experienced the daring, insightful, smart and powerful work that teenagers create when provided with the proper support and resources. As I become an adult, I realize how important my teenage years and my involvement in the arts have been on my growth. I am thrilled that, through The Possibility Project, I am being given the opportunity to put my creative leadership and organizational skills to use for an non-profit that so highly values and respects the work of teenagers. In addition, I am learning about what it really takes, administratively, to maintain a sustainable organization.
TPP: What kind of projects have you worked during your time as an intern? How have they informed your understanding of how a non-profit organization works?
JG: As a Program Management Intern at The Possibility Project, I have been given the opportunity to learn about the skills and tools necessary to supervise a sustainable, productive and innovative non-profit. The tasks of a Program Manager are numerous and very often involve communicating with people who help to make the organization’s mission possible. Therefore, I have taken on tasks involving the organization of The Possibility Project’s vendors and patrons, as well as assisting in the creation of marketing materials.
Right now, I’m helping put together the show program for one of The Possibility Project’s upcoming shows. This has given me a particularly important insight into the multiple steps that go into creating a quality final product that represents the organization; as an audience member, I had never realized that tasks such as reserving photographers, compiling lists of donors, and researching vendors was all part of organizing a professional event.
A similar project I’ve worked on is a Production Booklet that includes contact information and other details regarding cast members, artists, vendors, theaters, restaurants, and printers who collaborated on one of the recent TPP productions, Face It. One valuable aspect of this project was that I was able to see how a budget must be distributed across a broad range of needs. I had never realized how much time and money went into putting up a show.
As I continue to learn the importance of communication, attention to detail, patience and organization, I feel myself truly understanding what goes into providing possibility to the thousands of youth nationwide who have been able to experience the work of The Possibility Project.
TPP: What are your ultimate career goals, and how do you think working with the organization will help you achieve them?
JG: This has always been a difficult question for me to answer, but there are three things that I am positive of in addressing my goals for the future: I want to work with youth, I want to use the arts, specifically theater, as an agent to create some kind of social change, and I want to explore education in a non-traditional sense. In piecing those three things together, I believe my ultimate career goals would be to create a non-profit that offers residency programs to schools all over the country. These residency programs would use the arts as an agent to teach activism by inspiring social change through the stories that help build our identities and communities. I have always been infatuated by stories and what a story is capable of teaching other humans. My belief is that theater is the most effective way for that to be achieved. I want to be create a space that would serve as a platform for youth to explore their own personal histories with safety and innovation. Yet, regardless of what my future holds, I am positive that the tools that I have gained from working with The Possibility Project will be imperative and relevant in my future endeavors.
What I have learned from working at The Possibility Project is that in order to create a successful and sustainable organization, staff members must maintain a certain balance between their personal needs and the needs of the organization. Most important to The Possibility Project experience is discovering and establishing the imperative balance between artistry and administration as well as the balance between the importance of process vs. the importance of the product. The Possibility Project has also offered me a chance to master the universal tool of communication, both technologically and in person. By developing the appropriate balances and maintaining necessary communication, I believe that I will be able to achieve my goals, whatever they may be.
TPP: What will you take away with you from your time at The Possibility Project?
JG: I took some creative liberty in answering this question. Below is a list of the seven most important things I have learned from working at The Possibility Project:
- The feeling of working for something that you truly believe in.
- The significance of being part of a community.
- The power of passion.
- The importance of communication.
- The never-ending need for creative space.
- The idea that using the arts as an educational tool is the key to learning everything else.
- The feeling of accomplishing something that you have worked on with great determination.
Although the list is short, each piece of the list is something that I don’t believe someone can understand without experiencing it within the world of The Possibility Project.