Giving Back and Gaining Perspective: 2019 Intern Day of Service
By Monica Gu, Corporate Communications Intern
All summer, Samsung Electronics America interns have dove deeply into life at Samsung—from daily assignments and meetings to town halls and workshops, we’ve been welcomed into the company and trusted like equal members of the broader Samsung team. On July 26, we were able to experience yet another major part of working at Samsung that’s integral to both the well-being of the company and of the communities around us: giving back.
At the annual Intern Day of Service, we saw just how much Samsung values giving back. Modeled after Samsung’s company-wide Day of Service in October each year, the Intern Day of Service consisted of simultaneous volunteer events for all interns across the country. No matter where we were, we all had our matching blue Samsung Gives shirts on and were ready to tackle the tasks at hand.
At Eva’s Village, an anti-poverty non-profit in Paterson, NJ, we separated into three groups to help with gardening, litter pick-up, and meal packing. Founded in 1982, Eva’s Village helps those struggling in the community in a variety of ways. It is at once a kitchen, a shelter, a recovery center, a culinary school, and transitional housing for its beneficiaries, helping people from all walks of life struggling with poverty get back on their feet. Whether we were individually donning hairnets or picking up shovels, we were all there to support Eva’s Village and its multitude of functions by packing meals for clients and keeping the property clean and welcoming.
During our busy days at work in Ridgefield Park and Manhattan, we sometimes may forget that many people in towns so close to us are facing serious issues like homelessness, hunger, and addiction. By organizing a Day of Service for our intern class, Samsung helped to remind us how important it is for companies to spread awareness of social responsibility and do their part in supporting the communities where we live and work.
Across the country, the other volunteer events were providing the same learning experience. In Texas, Samsung interns volunteered at the North Texas Food Bank Mobile Pantry, where they organized food donations from local grocery stores, packed them into sets, and distributed them to individuals and families in need.
Anika Urfi, Customer Experience and Strategy Intern in Plano, TX, emphasized the humility and gratitude that the experience brought out in everyone, and noted how inspiring it was to see Samsung take time to help out.
“From my internship so far, I’ve learned that Samsung moves very quickly and that everyone here is incredibly intelligent and hard-working,” Urfi said. “So it’s really nice to know that a large corporation like Samsung will take a pause and give their employees a day to reflect by giving back to the community.”
Over in California, Samsung interns worked with the Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Clara to provide fresh produce to those in need—ultimately sorting and packing 9,300 lbs. of plums!
“It was a really rewarding and meaningful experience to help reduce local hunger, and we also had fun working together in a completely different environment,” said Sharqua Abdullah, Product Management Intern in Samsung’s Mountain View office. “I left the food bank feeling inspired by the staff—who tackles these challenges on a daily basis—and happy with our contribution of making their jobs a little easier.”
Just up the coast, interns in the Bellevue, WA office had a different Day of Service experience visiting a local Boys and Girls Club Teen Center, with its extensive range of facilities used to help children learn and develop their hobbies and passions. The group utilized technology to bond with the kids and, with a green screen and editing software, they taught the children how to create pictures of themselves blowing dragon fire or sitting on spaceships.
“These kids really had amazing imaginations,” said Software Engineering Intern Pratik Abhyankar. “It was really fun to teach them basic editing in Photoshop, and all of them were quick learners! It was an awesome experience interacting with the kids and overall a well-spent Day of Service.”
Back in New Jersey, some of us planted flowers and collected garbage under the summer sun, while others formed an indoor assembly line of sandwich-making and bag-packing. Last year’s Intern Day of Service had also been at Eva’s Village, and the organization was grateful for Samsung’s continued support. I asked Marie Caliendo, Corporate & Foundation Relations Manager at Eva’s Village, about any differences she’s noticed about the younger generations of volunteers.
“We’re noticing that millennials and Gen Z take corporate social responsibility very seriously, and that they want to be connected on a human level in the community,” Caliendo told me. “And that’s certainly something that Eva’s Village appreciates and needs, because we want to serve our clients in a very human, person-to-person way, and we can’t do it alone. The interns from last year were very organized and very passionate about helping us, and this year’s group is even larger—so we’re very grateful that you’re back to help!”
When the day was done, we all came back with fresh perspectives, feelings of gratitude and empathy, and a sense of accomplishment. As interns, it was amazing to see firsthand how much Samsung cares about serving the community, and rewarding for us to play an active role in doing just that.
About the author: Monica Gu is a rising senior at Columbia University, where she is studying Political Science and History. She spent the last six months studying abroad at King’s College in London.