Meet Sarah Guntz, an Exercise Science and Healthy Lifestyle Management double major, who is entering her senior year at Creighton University.
What was your first experience working with JMF?
My first experience working with JMF was as a volunteer for their Sports and Service Learning camp at Brebeuf Jesuit. I was asked to be a volunteer the summer between my junior and senior year, and I was partnered with a good friend who ran cross country and played lacrosse with me. We had a blast, and our campers came in with so much energy.
Why did you decide to pursue an internship with JMF?
I must fulfill an internship to graduate and while many of my peers fulfill that through a physical or occupational therapy shadowing internship, I knew that wasn’t the perfect fit for me. Working with JMFitness has allowed me to fulfill parts of my Exercise Science requirements while doing something outside the box. I love working directly with the athletes and supporting programs that I would have enjoyed having when I was a grade school or high school student. Interning at a nonprofit is a different experience from working in a clinic or hospital, but it’s a fitting place for me.
What is your favorite part of being an intern?
My favorite part of my work here is witnessing the interactions between the mentors and athletes through our JMFitness Summer Running Club. All of our families and mentors are wonderful and genuinely enjoy working together. That joy is contagious, and I love to have a part in making those moments possible. Many of our athletes know each other from other sports or school, so it is great to watch those friendships expand within our programs, too.
What has been challenging as an intern?
One challenging thing for me as an intern has been learning some of the appropriate language to use. Since I didn’t go to a school that had disABILITY Awareness programming, I was never exposed to person-first language. I never meant to use language that was disrespectful or belittled anyone else’s experience, of course; however, I simply never had exposure to the etiquette. I have caught myself using phrases or words I have heard growing up, rather than person-first language, so I have become much more aware of how I talk about myself and others. Learning more about the proper language to use has given me opportunities to grow and understand how to best serve the athletes I work with.
What would you say to others considering an internship?
If others are looking to work with a nonprofit, I would definitely recommend learning as much as you can about the community you serve. When I first started at JMF, I had limited exposure to people with disabilities. I had to ask questions about the IEP process, appropriate communication, and how to best serve the athletes I work with. Learning as much as you can about the experience of who you are serving makes the work so much richer.
Post written by: Sarah Guntz
Creighton University, Class of 2018