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Haley Gassel's Internship Experience

Last summer, I decided last minute to attend SLU’s Entrepreneurship

Academy. We met with various entrepreneurs for a week, and on one of the last days, we were visiting a business incubator. I stepped out for a minute, and when I came back, there was a complete silence over the room- keep in mind, it was a group of thirty or so high school students. I grabbed a seat and watched as the entrepreneurs were talking about their business. It was Lucas and Lenny. They talked about everything LOVEtheLOU does, how they started it, and the obstacles they faced. Out of every business owner I met that week, no one was nearly as passionate as they were. Their optimism and love for the city was contagious, and I felt a need to get involved somehow.

I kept in contact with Lucas during the rest of the year, and we managed to set a time to have an interview. I had never been to an interview like it before, where the employer genuinely wants to know what the person is like, what they enjoy, and what their plan for the future is. He took all of my skills into account and gave me work that aligned perfectly with it. I’m working with organization, communication, etc., and I am able to work with the students in STL | LIFT. I am always able to have a bigger picture of how the work I do affects the organization as a whole.

Lucas told me the first day that working here would be like having another family, and it couldn’t be more true. Everyone keeps up with me, asks how I’m doing, what vacations I’m going on, and we talk to them about their kids, siblings, etc.- all things I would not expect as an intern and the youngest one in the office. I’m so grateful to have been given this opportunity, and it has given me such a great appreciation for the people involved and the work they do.

I’m here part-time. I spend two weekdays at the office, and I spend Saturdays at the garden. I’ve learned that there is so much administrative work with nonprofits than I expected, but I love learning about it and how it affects LOVEtheLOU. On Saturdays, I’m able to spend time with the STL | LIFT kids. I haven’t known them for long, but I see the effects this organization has on them. They talk about how they want to be nurses, teachers, and so much more. Each of them genuinely wants to learn new things. These kids have hope for their futures, despite all of their circumstances, and quite frankly, they inspire me. When I had a gut feeling to get involved with LOVEtheLOU, it was a sign. I’m not only growing as a person, but I am brought closer to God every day as I help improve this amazing city.

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