Intern Profile: Jenna Gragnano at the Northeastern Association of the Blind

Photo Gragnano

Jenna Gragnano (right) at NABA’s 2014 Visionary Gala.

Jenna Gragnano interned at The Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany, or NABA, in Spring 2014. These are her experiences.

At NABA, I was responsible for various tasks while working under the supervision of the Director of Communications and Development, Michele O’Hare. My first assignment was to contact prospective golf courses to see if they were interested in holding a Blind Golf Tournament at their course. One of my many writing assignments including conducting an interview with NABA’s Youth Coordinator, Caterina Marra, about the Youth Program. After interviewing Caterina, I was responsible for writing an article about the Youth Program that ran in NABA’s annual newsletter, Brighter Horizons.

I also helped plan, assemble, and assist at the 2014 Visionary Gala. I wrote the mail invitation letters, as well as worked the wine pull at the event. I was in charge of asking guests if they would like to purchase a wine cork for twenty dollars, and at the end of the night they would receive a bottle of wine ranging in worth from twenty dollars to one hundred dollars. There were eighty wine corks and I successfully sold all of them, raising NABA $1,600. The money raised from the wine pull will allow NABA to continue to provide services to help the blind and visually impaired achieve their independence and growth.

I also learned the basics of how a non-profit organization was run. I worked on small projects such as: stuffing envelopes for mail letters, organizing sweatshirt orders, and decorating for the wine pull as well as putting together advertisement posters for the Visionary Gala.

The first day I interned at NABA, I was asked to make phone calls to a list of country clubs and golf courses to see if they were interested in hosting a Blind Golf tournament. I was given a folder of golf course directories and placed in a room by myself. I can remember feeling overwhelmed and nervous to call the courses. That day, I left forty voicemails to prospective golf courses. I left my internship that day still feeling nervous and worried that I was not going to be an asset to their organization.

My last week at my internship, I was asked to call the golf courses again to confirm a date and time for course play. Michele O’Hare handed the same folder of golf course directories to me and placed me in an office by myself. The feeling of nervousness was far gone, and that is when I realized that I had become comfortable at my internship as well as talking and conversing with others since this time the golf courses were open and someone was available to speak to.

Being an English major has been a blessing in disguise. Although I was originally an Adolescent English Education major, I still was nervous about my choice to become an English major. After interning at NABA, I realized that my major is applicable to a variety of fields and that my possibilities are endless. After I graduate, I plan on volunteering at NABA because I really enjoyed my time there and I want to work with non-profit organizations.

My advice to students in this major is to not always listen to what others have to say being an English major, that it’s a negative for your career. You are gaining an education that leaves you with endless possibilities

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