PIIE Scholarship Recipient Aids Non-Profit Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center
“Through this internship, I was reminded of the difference that one single individual can have”, stated Lynette Schweimler, who received a scholarship stipend from the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation to intern at the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center this past summer in Boulder, CO. Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center offers safe and affordable reproductive and sexual health services to both men and women. Lynette served as the Social Media Coordinator through the University of Colorado – Boulder PIIE (Public Interest Internship Experience) program. The scholarship from the Casey Feldman Foundation enabled Lynette to be paid for her full time work there.
A native of Germany, Ms. Schweimler will be graduating in May with a double major in International Relations and German. In addition to being “immersed for years in social justice work”, she is a candidate for honors in International Relations and is also a member of the German Honors Society. Lynette will be going to graduate school next fall seeking a graduate degree in International Human Rights with the ultimate goal of working for an international nonprofit involved in humanitarian assistance.
Lynette stated that her summer experience “solidified this goal beyond measure” and produced a newfound interest in health, making her more mindful of the number of barriers that exist in accessing competent health care, particularly for women, teens, LGBTQ folks and people of color.
While interning at the Women’s Health Center this past summer, Ms. Schweimler’s primary duties included maintaining the clinic’s existing social media initiatives, which included 4 Facebook pages, 2 Twitter accounts, and a Yelp page. Ms. Schweimler also installed a Yelp page for their Longmont location as well as Seesmic, a social media dashboard which allows for easy integration of all Facebook and Twitter accounts, making social media use more manageable for small organizations.
To help with tracking the reach of social media, Ms Schweimler also created a system for recording “Insights” on Facebook, which included user demographics, page “likes” and a variety of other useful information. This was particularly helpful to the Health Center as Lynette launched the clinic’s first ever Facebook Ad campaign midway through summer. The clinic was thus able to review important data about the success of the ads in reaching male users, one of the goals for the summer campaign.
Lynette also researched cutting edge technologies for nonprofit use and to assist the clinic with its inclusiveness practices, including both mobile credit card scanning technologies and mobile giving initiatives. Ms. Schweimler was able to present her findings to the Board of Directors, and both initiatives were placed on track to be implemented within the clinic by the end of 2011.
For inclusiveness, a list of recommendations was made, particularly around the use of language and pronouns and Lynette trained the staff on working with the LGBTQ community. She also assisted the Development and Youth Services offices in their work to submit a grant proposal seeking funding for a full year of intensive inclusiveness training for its staff and outreach to the LGBTQ community.
Lynette aimed to ensure the sustainability of the work she accomplished since Women’s Health has only one intern each summer and limited volunteers during the year. Thus, Lynette made sure her work was easily transferable for others in the organization so that the advances which she implemented would be ongoing.
Humble about the extensive accomplishments she made for the health center , Lynette stated that she was grateful to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation for the summer scholarship since she gained a more thorough understanding of the non-profit sector as well as issues regarding women’s health. “I have expanded my own framework for social justice and my educational goals as well,” reported Ms. Schweimler.
Read about our 1st PIIE Scholarship Recipient – PIIE Awards First Casey Feldman Memorial Scholarship