During the Spring semester, CCJ had to opportunity to participate in the Non-Profit Protégé Program, sponsored by the Iowa State Student Engagement Office and United Way of Story County. While our time with our protégé has come to a close, we are excited about Madison’s dedication to the non-profit sector and are thrilled she has requested to return to CCJ in a volunteer capacity. We appreciate Madison’s kind comments about her experience at CCJ, included below with her permission.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with the team at The Center for Creative Justice (CCJ), and learn what it means to work for a non-profit. Throughout my experience, I learned and refined my knowledge on crisis management, budgeting, learning the ins and outs of an administration board, discussing ethics, and communication. However, the most prominent thing I learned about was about this non-profit organization’s mission and services to its community. CCJ’s mission is to “rehabilitate offenders, reduce victimization, increase public safety, and contribute to improving our communities,” and their services include having probationary services that are matched with crisis management in order to give folx on probation a chance to rehabilitate outside of the typical probationary setting. And they apply those concepts gracefully. Each member of their team holds an important role and they mesh together excellently in order to provide for their community. No person walks into their office and feels judged or disrespected, they treat these folx like they’re people and give them the services, support, and resources they need. My favorite part about this whole experience was getting to interact and know the people within these organizations. I learned so much about these folx, their backgrounds, and why they started to do the work that they do. I wouldn’t give up this experience for the world. I give a lot of credit for my enjoyment and education in this program to my mentor Staci Shugar. She’s new to the position and was probably as nervous about this as I was, but she was so amazing to work with. She is a strong, determined individual who listens and cares about issues even larger than her organization. She gave me an opportunity to learn so much more about running a nonprofit, and she gave me so much wiggle room to add my own opinions and insights to certain topics. It no longer felt like we were mentor and mentee, but rather just two people discussing and bouncing ideas off of each other. She refined my belief in myself that this was something I could do, and be good at. Between discussing crisis management and budgeting, I got to relearn these tools I had already known about problem-solving and leadership and apply them in a setting I hadn’t been in before. She created a space for me to thrive, and I greatly appreciate it.Madison