Josh Kenway is a junior on the UGA Men’s Swimming and Diving team. He is majoring in Economics and Political Science. Josh had the opportunity to participate in an internship with The Ark UMOC in Athens during the summer of 2016.
From my very first day on the job interning at The Ark, I knew what an incredible, life-altering organization I had been lucky enough to find myself a part of. The Ark serves some of the hardest up citizens of Athens who are facing financial emergencies and are struggling to meet life’s basic needs. These include people who are working in one or more low-wage jobs, disabled or elderly and living on fixed incomes, facing increasing costs of living, stagnant wages and a lack of affordable housing and often without a network of support.
The Director of The Ark, Lucy Hudgens, and Program Coordinator, Steph Cockfield, made me feel so welcome and initially had me try out various different roles that the charity’s volunteers fill within the organization, before getting me started on my main internship projects. Over the course of my month-long internship, I helped The Ark transform how they tracked data and performance outcomes for their patrons, in particular for their brand new title-loan relief program, the focus of which is getting people out of long-term debt to some of the most unscrupulous lenders in the nation and then giving them the financial management skills to help them get their fortunes back on track.
My largest contribution to this organization, however, was the total redesign of its website that I undertook early on in my internship and completed in my continuing role as a a student-volunteer with The Ark.
I am truly grateful for the support of the UGA Athletic Department and The Ark’s dedicated staff for making my experience working there this summer so fantastic.