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Thank You to Emily, Our Summer Intern

August 11, 2011

Re:ACT Story

Last month we introduced you to Emily O’Connor, our summer intern. As she concludes her internship with us we asked her to share some thoughts.

What motivated you to intern with SOLD, and was it what you expected?

Emily working at the Grand Opening of Studio Unfiltered, hosted by The SOLD Project.

When I first heard the term “human trafficking” four years ago something clicked inside of me. The hands of social justice had taken a firm grip on me and I knew it would never let me go. I knew I had to do something. But how? And what? I educated myself about trafficking and hosted fundraisers, but I wanted more. I wanted to do more, to learn more. My internship with The SOLD Project this summer has provided this: an amazing opportunity to work with and learn from those who have dedicated their talents, careers, and lives to fighting the injustice of trafficking and sexual exploitation. My time here at SOLD has become a priceless experience.

When I first agreed to intern with SOLD I was very excited, but I pictured myself stuck at a desk in a cramped office typing mindlessly away all summer. I wanted to intern with SOLD because I plan to pursue a career in anti-trafficking, but I was a little bit reserved. “Will the work I do even matter or help?” I wondered. Now that my internship has sadly come to a close, I can honestly say that spending the past six weeks interning with SOLD has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only have I thoroughly loved every minute of working for a worthy cause, but I have learned so much about myself and about how SOLD efficiently creates social change and effectively prevents child prostitution. I learned that I really do love this kind of work. I was so excited to wake up in the morning and head off to work knowing that what I was doing was helping stop exploitation.

What did you learn?

I learned that every piece of the puzzle counts. Each person has something unique to offer, and that matters.

Emily, with friends at the Studio Unfiltered benefit for The SOLD Project.

No matter how significant or insignificant the contribution may seem, it takes all the pieces, both big and small, for something truly great to come together. And that’s exactly the beauty of SOLD. People have come together to offer their talents, time, and resources in order to make sure no child ever has to be sold for sex. I learned how to practice my people skills, how to strategize when it comes to projects, and a bit about how the non-profit world works.  I learned the names of the kids I was working for, which is huge. No longer were they a statistic half way around the world or a face on a poster, but they are real people with names (and lots of nicknames too, I quickly found out!), stories, aspirations, and senses of humor. Working for social justice is not a distant dream for me anymore, it has become a reality, and I have SOLD to thank for that.

What would you say to future interns?

To those who might be potential future interns I’d say if you’re looking for a place to work with passionate and talented people and to help provide education to beautiful kids in Thailand, then you’ve found the right place! Come ready to learn and eager to try your hand at things you maybe never pictured yourself doing. Come motivated and come excited because you will not be stuck doing mindless, pointless intern tasks! Your piece of the puzzle will effectively help to solve the problem of child sexual exploitation.

What’s next for you?

I’m not sure what the future holds for me or where I will find myself five years down the road. But I am sure, positive in fact, that my time here at SOLD has prepared me for that future.

Selling a print by one of The SOLD Project Scholarship students.

The job skills, knowledge, experience, and relationships I am taking away from this experience have not only challenged me to do my best in whatever is before me, but also has encouraged me that I can do something that matters! Thank you Rachel and everyone else at The SOLD Project for letting me be a part of what you do! I can’t wait to see what the the future has for me and for SOLD!

A BIG thank you from all of us at The SOLD Project, Emily. We are proud to call you part of our team!

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