On the first day of my work experience at DCF I didn’t know what to expect. I came into this experience with a predominately set idea of what path I would like to take in the future. So I hadn’t thought about charity work or being involved with a foundation in the past. Although I knew the basics of what Devon Community Foundation does, I was unfamiliar with the details. I’ve found out that DCF does three main things; provide philanthropic advice, support local communities and organisations with grant making and working with donors to make that happen.
From the start of this experience, I was immediately thrown right in the deep end as I attended a meeting that was so much different to anything I am used to at school, as I had never been in a meeting before. This instantly showed me the differences between a work and school environment without anyone having to explain it, as I was able to observe how these meetings work from the inside, and the roles of everyone involved. This was an interesting insight into the contrast of professionalism between school and work.
Before this, I really had no idea how much hard work and thorough analysing was needed when working for the foundation, and the amount of detail that goes into helping every group. Working in the office, I got to experience this behind the scenes, however, later in the week I was also lucky enough to experience the impact of this first hand. I visited an organisation called ‘Balloons’, helping young people with bereavement and moving on. Although I was prepared for getting upset, I was surprised by how much this impacted me and how inspired I felt after listening to the children’s personal stories and the substantial difference Balloons had made for them and their families. I realised that none of that would be achievable without the work that Devon Community Foundation had done to make a grant possible.
Reflecting on my time, the one thing that made this experience so fulfilling, was definitely the DCF team. Every single person at the foundation took amazing care of me and I instantly felt part of a team, which I am very grateful for. I can certainly say that I thoroughly enjoyed learning about each individual role and how this slots in with all the other roles, when working together on a big scale to make this all happen.
By the end of my work experience, I unquestionably feel much more aware of what it is like to be part of a work environment, and most importantly how significant foundations like DCF are. I have had an amazing time and now have much more of an open mind to future jobs.