Reflections of an Intern

Author: Rachel, WAR, Int’l Intern

Before coming to intern at Women At Risk, International (WAR), I knew little about WAR, and to be honest, I still feel like I have much to discover because there are so many things that this organization does and I feel like I have only seen a glimpse of all there is. There is no doubt in my mind that this is exactly where God wanted me to be because every other door was completely closed, with a lock, and the door to WAR was flung wide open. Despite all that I have learned, I am still figuring out how this is preparing me and impacting me for what is to come in the future.

I do know that I have been equipped with knowledge, even though there is so much that I still need to learn to educate others about human trafficking, especially in West Michigan & Grand Rapids, as well as advocating for victims of trafficking and other risk areas. Additionally, I want to tell people about WAR, because I feel like there are so many people who have never heard of this organization and the boutique and they are missing out because this place is full of good people.

The emphasis that WAR placed on serving me, instead of what I could do for them, surprised me again and again. The desire to serve me, among other things, has shown me how much I really love people and value relationships. It is crystal clear to me that WAR cares deeply about people, no matter who they are, and while I haven’t been here long enough to really break out of my shell, I still feel confident that I will have a place here because this is an organization centered around providing a safe place for people.

Throughout the three months that I have interned at WAR, I have learned a lot about myself, but mainly about trafficking – about the multitude of people everywhere that it affects, about the myths and stereotypes surrounding trafficking and prostitution as well as the mindset of trafficking victims, and about the wide range of needs that victims have. This has been an incredibly eye-opening experience and my heart has been broken multiple times (it doesn’t require much for me but it hurts just the same). Honestly, it feels quite overwhelming at times because I want to fix it all and have all the skills to help, but I know that I, unfortunately, cannot do it on my own.

I have already been able to share with those closest to me the realities of trafficking in West Michigan and help make them aware of who is at risk and what we can do to help, which is what I want to continue to do. I hope to use my work to advocate for survivors of trafficking and to help make WAR more well known. I don’t have a clear picture of what that looks like yet but I am excited for the potential.

Call To Actions –

Apply for an internship here.
Learn more about WAR’s work here.
Resources for you here.

A Day in the Life of Becky

Author: Haley, WAR, Int’l Intern

When talking with Women At Risk International (WAR, Int’l) founder and president Becky McDonald, she suggested I write my perspective on a day in her life after I commented on how many social media followers might find it interesting. Becky laughed, and we joked about how she would hate being followed around by a camera, but she told me to write it anyway because it’s not often you get to see how the founder of a nonprofit operates. That being said, anyone who knows Becky knows it is nearly impossible to explain exactly what she does every day due to the unpredictability of her schedule. There will never be a fully accurate ‘Day in the Life of Becky McDonald’, but there are more or less some consistent things you can expect to see her do on a typical day in the office.

The first of these things is never sitting down. From the moment she enters the office to the moment she leaves, Becky rarely takes a moment to pause or rest. She is constantly in a meeting, on the phone, following up on something, or mid-conversation when you see her. This ensures Becky remains active and engaged in day-to-day happenings as a remarkably hands-on founder, something she takes pride in. It’s not uncommon for Becky to arrive at the office immediately after ending an engagement outside of headquarters, only to walk straight into another meeting or call in her office, then leave later in the day for more outside engagements. In her mind, there is always one more thing to do before she goes.

The next thing you can expect to see is Becky fixing something. And by fixing something, I mean anything: fixing a crisis situation, a programming oversight, a forgotten task, or even physically fixing something broken in the building. Many people might think these things would be beneath her dignity as a founder, but instead, the opposite is true as Becky makes certain that everything ends up as it should—whether she needs to fix it herself or have someone else do it. As an example, when staff found themselves without a Christmas tree that was needed to advertise holiday merchandise in an upcoming photoshoot, Becky went out and personally searched multiple craft stores for the perfect tree instead of pushing the task to someone else, so plans for the photoshoot could continue. It’s little moments like these that shine a light on the reason WAR, Int’l thrives, because everyone is a team and no one is above doing the grunge work (even Becky).

Lastly, you can expect to find Becky laughing. It doesn’t matter where she goes in the office or who she’s with, you will find laughter follows. With the seriousness of their mission, most people might expect the WAR, Int’l office to be a stiff or tense environment when the opposite is true. Serious work demands moments of laughter and silliness to offset the stress of difficult situations at hand. Becky is no stranger to this and frequently offers up hilarious stories or witty comments that make everyone crack a smile.

A day in the life of Becky would probably exhaust anyone, but she makes it look easy while encapsulating everything that makes WAR, Int’l what it is today. It’s a far cry from the lofty founder life many would expect, but it’s genuine to the mission and vision that celebrates the entire WAR, Int’l team as equals.