My Story With Dream On 3- By our intern, Caitlin Himmelsbach
How I found DO3:
To complete my Leisure, Youth, and Human Services major at the University of Northern Iowa I needed to complete a 14-week internship at a nonprofit organization. I was thinking about moving to Charlotte and thought I would search around and see if I found anything I would like. I came across Dream On 3 on the NC Center for Nonprofits webpage and thought it was an interesting name, so I continued on to their website.
I read about who they are and what they do and I fell in love. I have always thought it would be amazing to work for Make-A-Wish and DO3 seemed like a much better fit for me because they include more than just terminally ill children. I started watching all of the Dream Experience videos (and I may have watched each of them more than once). Being big into the NASCAR world, I remember seeing Edwin’s video and watched it first. I am also an advocate for Donate Life, so when I realized that Edwin was a heart recipient, I knew this would be a perfect fit for me.
My boyfriend, Joey Gase, lost his mother when he was just 18 years old. Since she was not married, he had to make the decision of whether or not to donate her organs. He said yes and she saved and improved the lives of 66 people. You can now see “Donate Life” on his NASCAR Xfinity Series racecar just about every weekend. (You can also watch his story here.)
I was so excited about this organization I emailed Elizabeth right away. I also showed Joey and made him watch all the videos with me (yes, again!). He thought they were just as wonderful as I did and encouraged me to follow through with them. I then had a phone interview with Elizabeth and to be honest, I was nervous. Turns out the Lindsey family was on the way to the beach during my interview, so it was very relaxed and I had a normal conversation with Elizabeth about who I was and who they were. By the end of the conversation she had offered me the internship! A couple of weeks later I FaceTimed the Lindsey family (minus Brandon) and I got to see how sweet and wonderful they really are. Victoria and Hannah had so many questions for me- what is your favorite color? Do you have any pets? If possible, it made me that much more excited about moving to Charlotte and interning for Dream On 3.
My time at DO3:
My first couple weeks of the internship just happened to be right before their Annual Dream Gala, so you could say I was kind of “thrown in.” Those first two weeks were crazy and busy, but the Dream Team was incredibly warm, welcoming and made me feel like a part of the team right away.
Throughout my experience I was able to apply what I had learned in my classes at school and see how everything was actually done in the real world. Fortunately, I was able to see all sides of the organization. I learned about planning and preparing for a gala, fundraising, planning events, what all goes on at a Board of Directors meeting and much, much more.
My favorite part of interning with Dream On 3 was not only being so welcomed and instantly loved by the Dream Team, but being able to see and meet the Dream Kids and see how excited and appreciative they were for what all Dream On 3 has done and will do for them.
Where I am now:
Everyone wants to have that feeling of knowing they are helping change and improve someone’s life and I feel like I was able to help with that while at Dream On 3. Meeting each of the Dream Kids, looking at the pictures and videos from their experiences and seeing the smiles on their faces was incredible. You don’t always have to be that front person to be able to feel like you are making a difference in someone’s life.
Brandon and Elizabeth (and the girls) have been great. Since day 1 they have made me feel welcomed and a part of this big family. They have been there for me throughout the internship and have been my family away from home. I am forever grateful for this amazing experience with Dream On 3. It won’t be easy to get rid of me though- I will continue to volunteer and help with whatever is needed.
So, THANK YOU to Brandon, Elizabeth and the wonderful Dream Team for making me feel so welcomed and loved and for giving me an unforgettable experience!
-Caitlin Himmelsbach, DO3 intern 2015