Tag Archive: volunteer


january is for jumping back in

After a hiatus for break, the interns are back on track.  We have restructured a little bit to make our work more efficient.  We all meet at the same time now instead of having separate meeting times.  As PDail gets ready to co-lead a relief trip to Haiti, the interns have a big surprise for everyone.  I can’t tell you what it is yet, but be looking out for some exciting new things.  We’ve come up with some excellent goals to improve the amount of online traffic we receive.  Selling our handmade crafts and jewelry can be difficult online, but we have some cool solutions in the works.

In other news, I will be investigating how fair trade and microcredit loans are interrelated in my senior research for International Studies.  I am excited to be able to apply things I have learned in my degrees towards my work with Beleza.  The Caldwell Fellows and I just invested in a microcredit loan to help a farmer in Ecuador buy more farming equipment.  He is producing oranges, cassava, corn and cacao.  We used kiva.org as the broker for the loan.

Josè Narciso Quinatoa Arias

Meet Josè Narciso Quinatoa Arias, the borrower.

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so many resources

Today, I made a presentation at the National Outreach Scholarship Conference downtown for some volunteer work with Cultural Correspondents while I was abroad in Spain.  After my presentation, I had the chance to attend two sessions relevant to our work at Beleza.  The first session was about building nonprofit infrastructure capacity within the university.  There were two speakers from the NC State Institute for Nonprofits and one from Habitat for Humanity.  I had the chance to meet Dr. Mary Tscirhart, who is going to meet with one of the professors from the non-profits minor at State to see how they can help with the focus group.  Later, I went to a session on economic development, partially becuase it was of personal interest.  A speaker from Penn State University, New Kensington campus also started a 501(c)3 non-profit to better the New Kensington community.  I had the chance to speak with him about how involved the process was, and one of his recommendations was to search for an attorney who would be interested in providing pro-bono services.  I am looking for someone who is interested in helping our cause but can find ways to let the interns participate.  If anyone has contacts, let us know!

non-profit or not?

When PDail started the store 6 years ago, an attorney advised him that becoming a non-profit entity would be too much of a headache and hold him back. There is a Nonprofit Studies program at NC State. My goal is to create a non-profit focus group. These interns will do research to see if becoming non-profit is feasable, list advantages and disadvantages, and make a presentation to the owner. If the owner decides it will be in the best interest of the store to become non-profit, the interns will devise a plan and carry out the conversion of the store. I’m currently in contact with a faculty member from NC State to see if the students can get course credit.

teaming up

To keep myself from spending 20 hours a week at Beleza, I am going to create three teams: web development, communications/design and a non-profit focus group. Each of the teams will have one team leader who will delegate tasks to the team members. I will lead an orientation session to get everyone on the same page, but after that the groups will have a lot of autonomy. I’m really excited about how talented the students are.

Click to enlarge the chart…

a swiftly changing vision

I came to the owner of Beleza, Philip Dail, with a proposition: let me be the events coordinator for the store. I would contact trade shows and arts festivals to get the store a place to sell the art and jewelry. Get the Beleza name out to Raleigh and the NC State community. simple enough, right?

After meeting with PDail (his preferred name), the wheels started turning. I realized that with PDail’s teaching and his wife’s constant managing of the store, the two hardly have time to breathe.

My vision changed: create a small army of volunteer interns. I am setting up a web team (the online orders section of the store needs to be managed), a graphic design team (for store publicity at events), and a non-profit focus group.

I am stunned at the response I have gotten from NC State students already! I sent e-mails through listservs and created a job posting on ePack, the NC State employment database.

My vision changed overnight: Create teams of volunteer interns to focus on functional areas of the store (web, publicity, events, etc.) and draw from the NC State community to fill these positions. Build sustainability into the program by documenting the whole process and creating a training manual for future interns.