Vasi, above left, assists Mary DeMarco
with the assembly of documents for the IOCC Board of Directors.
Baltimore, Maryland Shortly after my graduation from college, I was glowing with pride and excitement at the prospect of interning for IOCC, the organization that I had wanted to be involved with since high school. Finally, I would be able to put all my education and energy towards something larger than myself.
My initial thoughts about interning for IOCC were a little romantic, with thoughts of living in a foreign country with no running water and distributing aid to the poor. After a summer spent at its Baltimore headquarters though, I now see that being stateside can be just as exciting. In short, I realized how important and rewarding it is to be the middle man. Instead of learning about one country, I learned about all the countries, programs and partners IOCC is involved with. Since all the countries report back to us, I talked to IOCC employees from IOCC field offices all over the world on a regular basis. In working with the accounting, programs and development departments, I saw first hand how they are all closely connected. Some days I wrote press releases and created Internet slideshows. Other days I created spreadsheets to organize our files and inputted data into databases. Though some days were intellectually stimulating and others were menial, I was gratified that everything I did indirectly helped people all over the world.
Working at IOCC headquarters is far from easy. The people here work long hours, are under high stress and sometimes take on three different job responsibilities. Each person here has taught me more than I ever thought was possible. I am working in an office surrounded by people who come to work everyday because they want to feed, cloth, employ and educate young and old from all races and religions. Though most will never see the direct effects of their work first hand, (a child fed, a medical clinic built), all who are here have made the choice to put people they will never know before their own personal comforts.
A month into my internship, the Hezbollah/Israeli crisis occurred. Everyone worked longer and moved three times faster. Each person here played a vital role. Since IOCC has an office in Lebanon, aid was delivered efficiently and was of high nutritional quality. This was when I realized how loyal the donors of IOCC are. Once the crisis hit, the phone rang non-stop and the mail increased three-fold. Thanks to the donors and the hard work by IOCC staff, food, blankets, water and medical aid were distributed quickly and efficiently.
As an Orthodox Christian, interning at IOCC brought me rewards that I never imagined would come from an internship. For the first time in my life, I am not considered out of the ordinary for attending church on a regular basis, knowing the Bible and the importance of the sacraments. Working with people who have similar priorities makes me think of them not just as co-workers, but as friends I hope to know all my life. Though not all are Christian, I feel that I have grown more spiritually here than at any other time of my life.
Vasi Jankovich served a three-month internship at IOCC headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland in the summer of 2006.