Wylie Mao joined Food Lifeline as a summer intern to learn more about public service and the world of nonprofits. As a part of the national Bank of America Student Leaders program, Wylie got a firsthand look at the operations of a non-profit while Food Lifeline gained the opportunity to work with an energetic and capable intern.
In its tenth year, the Bank of America Student Leaders program gives highly-achieving youth an opportunity to work at a local non-profit in a professional capacity. During his time at Food Lifeline Wylie wrote for the public policy newsletter, talked with state and federal officials about child hunger issues, and met with potential corporate donors. “This internship is a good balance. I got to learn office skills, work with different teams, and develop my professional skills through designing a new fundraising activity for the philanthropy department and helping lead a volunteer group in repacking thousands of pounds of food ” Wylie said. One of his favorite experiences was helping run Food Lifeline’s mobile food pantry in Whatcom County.
During his internship, Wylie participated in a week-long leadership summit in Washington, D.C. where themes of public service, understanding of diversity, and public relations were emphasized. He met with the other 223 student interns from all across the country. “Connecting with other dedicated students who are serving their communities through a variety of different avenues – Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, Youth Volunteer Corps, other food banks – was uplifting and valuable.”
“This summer internship with Food Lifeline will have a lasting impact on how I see local issues and the non-profit world,” Wylie said. “I learned a lot and it has been a great match.” Wylie will attend Bowdoin College in Maine starting this fall and currently plans to study social justice and law. While he isn’t entirely sure about his eventual career path, he is certain that public service and addressing critical social needs will always stay a priority.