HALO intern heads to Uganda to visit orphanages

Rachel-Mills-InternAn internship at The HALO Foundation is a great opportunity to enhance your skills while making a difference in the lives of youth in Kansas City and abroad. For one intern, it has turned into a once-in-a- lifetime chance to see firsthand how HALO impacts youth in Uganda. Business Development intern Rachel Mills joined HALO in November of 2013 after hearing HALO Learning Center Facilitator Aubony Chalfant speak at one of her classes at UMKC. “I love helping people and fell in love with HALO’s mission.”

As the Business Development intern, Rachel is helping transition HALO to use a customer relationship marketing (CRM) tool called DonorPerfect that will help build relationships with donors, volunteers and keep track of information on HALO youth. While working on this software transition and seeing how HALO is changing the lives of youth, a desire to see what HALO does internationally began to build.

After talking to HALO staff about going to some of the international homes, it was determined that Rachel would go to Uganda. “HALO is flexible in letting you do what you are passionate about”, said Rachel.  So she raised around $1,100 from friends and family, was awarded a research grant from UMKC, and received an enormous amount of art supplies to take with her to Uganda. She was amazed by how generous and willing people were to help. “People want other people to go help, and they will help you go.” In order to prepare, Rachel received a lot of advice from people, researched the country, and most importantly, received her medical shots.

Five out of HALO’s 12 international orphanages are located in Uganda. For six weeks, Rachel will work closely with current Uganda Ambassador Mary Pryse and HALO partner Cornerstone Development, update DonorPerfect with youth profiles, participate in art programming projects, as well as research more about Uganda. She will also help HALO update donors about how their contributions have impacted each youth.

Rachel is most looking forward to meeting the youth.  “I’m excited about getting to put a story on each of their faces and encourage them.”

“I’m not going there to change anything or anyone, it’s too short of time. I want to learn what HALO and Cornerstone does and how well they do it. I want to get more of an appreciation for what HALO does internationally and what I may want to do in the future and possibly go back.”

Rachel has started a blog to keep others who are curious about her trip updated. When she returns, she plans to continue working on her degree in Urban Planning – Community Development and interning at HALO. “HALO is awesome. HALO is my little family and everyone has been so encouraging and supportive”.