“I don’t know why I expect this to get easier. It just gets harder.”
Those were my words to Jessica Haley, our Director of Operations, after hugging the last of our fall 2014 interns goodbye last Friday. It’s not that I want to be unmoved by bidding farewell to the amazing individuals who give up 12-15 weeks of their lives to work with TWLOHA, but I keep waiting to find a rhythm – some sort of pattern that makes it more bearable. However, very shortly after that thought comes another: Loving people is the hardest thing we’re asked to do, but it’s also our greatest privilege. If sending these sweet souls back to their homes means there will be seven more voices calling hearts out of the darkness and starting honest conversations, then so be it.
This term, our interns travelled a collective 13,108 miles to help us spread a message of hope and help to the world. They gave a total of 4,200 hours to this movement. They answered 850 messages from supporters, put together care packages for people in recovery, sent flowers to families who have lost loved ones to suicide, shipped 3,700 World Suicide Prevention Day packs to 33 countries, and poured their time & talents into our mission. They also laughed, cried, danced to “Let It Go,” went on a bioluminescent kayaking tour, had movie marathons, navigated conflict, trained for a 10K, toured St. Augustine, and ate enough pizza & donuts to last a lifetime.
Allie, Chris, Kenneth, Laura, Lydia, Molly, & Rachel – I know I’ve said it before, but I could never do so enough: THANK YOU. The last 15 weeks may not have looked the way you thought they would, but I also know they exceeded your expectations in every way. This place, this organization, and these people are better because of you. This world needs you. It needs your voices, your passions, and your talents. It needs your heart. Remember this time and treasure it always, but keep pressing into the dreams you departed with and walk forward knowing that you have a team of people here cheering for you. Look often at the thousands of pictures you took and remember. Remember the growth, remember the good and hard times, and remember the joys, triumphs, healing, and vulnerability you all shared in this place. Please also remember the family you have in Florida who will think of you often and miss you every day. We love you.
TWLOHA Intern Program Director
To apply for our summer 2015 intern term, click here.