University of Washington Student Makes a Difference

By Lily Mak, University of Washington, Class of 2016

When I was looking for internship credits to graduate from the University of Washington this year, I wasn’t looking just anywhere to fulfill my requirements: I wanted to intern at a place where I knew that I was making a big difference in my community, where the people within the organization felt a strong connection to what they were doing. My parents themselves always taught me to put my heart into it when it comes to helping others. I remember from my childhood that they were always giving more than they were able to, despite not having very much themselves.

That’s when I found Wellspring Family Services.

Wellspring is a non-profit organization in the Seattle area striving to create happy, self-sufficient families - and ultimately - a safe environment that allows them thrive. Wellspring provides well-rounded services for low-income families, such as housing assistance, an early learning program, a free children’s clothing store, a domestic violence intervention program, parent-child services, and so much more. The mission Wellspring wants to achieve is imperative for our community: in order to have a peaceful and thriving world, we need to begin with peaceful and healthy foundations within our families.

During my early childhood, I grew up in a low-income household in a small disadvantaged area in Ohio. My family received so much help from friends in the community. That help allowed us to thrive and remove stressors on my family that would have affected the growth of my little sister and me. For the families in King County, Wellspring Family Services is the support to help them get back on their feet and give them the opportunity to find stability.

At Wellspring, I was presented with amazing opportunities to delve deeper into how a dedicated, structured, and - most important - caring, non-profit organization worked. Wellspring demonstrated that a non-profit can be a community leader and act as a pivotal, encompassing resource for those who are in need.

I received an incredible variety of tasks to do, such as working in the Baby Boutique,from learning about how non-profit databases work, to doing research for the Kids Helping Kids campaign. Best of all, it was inspiring to see and meet the kids and families I was helping who run around happily in the connected schoolyard and frequent the Baby Boutique every day.

One of the things that stood out to me was that the people at Wellspring constantly gave me encouragement. No matter the task, they had some of the most collectively positive and professional attitudes I’ve ever experienced, and they recognize that even the smallest tasks add up and make the organization a better place. Everyone here tries their best to go above and beyond.

Wellspring has confirmed my desire to pursue non-profit work for my career.  Overall, interning at Wellspring has left me a better-rounded, more prepared individual, and I cannot recommend this place enough for any student looking for an internship. 

For information about internships and volunteer experiences at Wellspring, email Erick at ehohnstein@wellspringfs.org