By Darian Eswine
At the beginning of the summer, I started writing a list of the “Top Five Things I’ve Learned at Rauch.” I figured I would wait a few weeks before I finished it so I had more time. Now, my last day is today and what I’ve learned is that I can’t write a Top Five list. First of all, I can’t narrow it down. Second of all, every point I came up with essentially came down to the same thing—passion.
I have never worked at a place like Rauch. I’m not saying that because I work here--(because I’m leaving today so I could really say anything)—I’m saying it because it’s true. I have never worked at a place that has so much community and passion.
That applies to the staff and the mission. A couple of weeks into my internship, Lindsey (development coordinator) made a cake for Teressa’s (development director) birthday and we sat in her office at the table and ate it. A few minutes later someone else walked in and grabbed cake and stood in the office and ate it, and a few minutes more, another person came in and we were all five sitting/standing eating cake and talking for 20 minutes or so. (I promise actual work gets done, but there is always time for cake.)
There’s a sense of community and of friendship, which has always been one of the most important things to me in anything I do. I’ve always thought that even if I hate a job, the actual job, I could still love it based on the people and the atmosphere. Luckily, here, I’ve enjoyed both.
The community aspect is only matched by the passion everyone shares toward the mission of Rauch. I interviewed probably around 15 employees and talked to many more than that, and every single person, when asked about their favorite part of the job, said “the clients.” Every single one.
I don’t have too much experience in the nonprofit world yet, but in the world in general, I think it’s pretty rare to have a group of people so committed to the same thing and constantly coming up with new ways to achieve their mission. Rauch seems special because they do so much with programming, but with every single thing you can see a direct tie back to the mission statement.
I’ll save talking about all the projects I’ve gotten to be involved in for my professors and advisors when I go back to school, because I have gotten to do and learn a lot—but—what I will remember and miss more than anything else are the people I’ve met while I’ve been here.
The staff has been nothing, but welcoming to me and make a point to ask me about my life and my day, and the clients have made a lasting impact on my life.
You can’t spend more than a few minutes with one of the clients without it affecting your life, in my opinion. The clients I’ve met at Rauch are some of the funniest, most joy-filled, and most unconditional-loving people I have ever met.
One of the first clients I met was Deanna. I wrote a short story about her and took some photos of her. She told Theresa (work services coordinator) she was going to take her out to lunch with the money she’s earned and she asked if I could come too. We had met about five minutes before then. She walks by my office sometimes when she gets here and I get to say hello. Yesterday, I got to go around and take some pictures with clients. I took a picture with Deanna and she wrapped both arms around me in a hug and gave me a kiss on the cheek. She is one of the most just genuinely sweet people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Phillip was another person I met pretty early into my internship. When I met him, he had just set up an interview at Sam’s and now he’s been working there for several weeks and I’ve been able to talk to him about his job a few times and write about him and his dance moves.
Michelle is someone special because her sister was my sister’s nurse several years ago when my sister was sick for a long time. I’ve been able to see her in a few different places while visiting the different programs and we’ve talked about her hairstyles and her puzzles.
I’ve learned it’s physically impossible not to smile when Dustin and Jeremy are around, especially when they’re calling for Lindsey.
I met Tom who is usually my morning greeter who either smiles at me from the kitchen doorway, sometimes waves, or on special occasions, shakes my hand.
And I met Patsy who is incredibly humble and also incredibly loyal, seeing as she’s been here 42 years.
I could keep going, because there are many more people I’ve met in the last three months.
Around 2:30-4:00 each day, with where the office I’m in is situated, the clients all walk past to leave for the day. Some of them keep walking, some of them stop and say hi or stop and talk for a few minutes. One time I had a conversation about a Spider-man lunchbox, another time I had a conversation about computer school.
That hour and a half block has been my favorite time of every day I’ve been here.
I will miss a lot of things, but thinking about not seeing the clients--even for the two seconds when they walk past my door each day--that’s what makes me sad to leave.
So thank you, to anyone I’ve met this summer. I can’t think of a single person who hasn’t been kind. I really appreciate everything I’ve learned here.
And thank you to the clients for making me smile on a daily basis and for teaching me to find joy in every circumstance.
This post is from guest blogger Darian Eswine--an English and journalism major from Franklin College interning with Rauch this summer.