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Shadow Day Success Story

Guest Post by Mackenzie Lutz, Event & Engagement Coordinator at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City

Each year Nonprofit Connect hosts Shadow Day to match college students interested in the nonprofit sector with local nonprofit professionals for a day of learning and networking. In 2015, Mackenzie Lutz spent Shadow Day at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City. One year later she is now a part of the team at RMHC, and reflects on her Shadow Day experience.

Are you a student interested in a nonprofit career? Shadow Day 2019 is Friday, October 18! Learn more about this year's Shadow Day event.

Why did you sign up for Shadow Day?

I signed up for Shadow Day with my Nonprofit Leadership Studies class at Kansas State University. I had the opportunity to come to Kansas City for that day with my classmates thanks to a donor. I knew I was interested in pursuing the nonprofit sector as part of my career when I graduated, and wanted to learn more about Nonprofit Connect and the organizations that were part of the Shadow Day experience. 

What was the most surprising thing you learned from your experience?

The most surprising thing to me was how connected and strong the nonprofit community in the Kansas City area has become. I grew up in Overland Park but didn't really know about how big the nonprofit community was here. It was so amazing to learn how all of the different organizations are working in ways to not only make their organizations stronger and more successful, but also to make Kansas City a stronger philanthropic community. 

Describe your favorite part of the Shadow Day experience.

My favorite part was the diversity of the day and getting to learn about so many aspects of Ronald McDonald House Charities. I got to meet with the Director of Marketing, the Guest Relations Manager and the Strategic Partnerships Manager. I had the opportunity to learn about everything, from the organization's operations to development and programs. Being a student who didn't know exactly where I wanted to be in the third sector, it was neat getting to hear about all of the different parts. It was nice to be so welcomed and I felt really comfortable asking a lot of questions, not only about what they were doing with the organization, but advice for me going forward having an interest in the nonprofit world. 

What is your advice for another student thinking about or planning on signing up for Shadow Day?

If you are thinking about it, or have even the slightest interest in learning more about the nonprofit world, either from a career or volunteer stand point, I would highly encourage it. Many schools offer career fairs where it isn't as hard to get connected in the corporate world, but for me it was a little more challenging when I knew I wanted to be involved with a nonprofit. I loved learning about the community in Kansas City, including Nonprofit Connect and ways to find job opportunities in the nonprofit sector. It was really helpful to meet people who are passionate about nonprofit work and who are willing to help you get connected if that is your interest. If you are planning on signing up, I would encourage you to stay open minded and don't be afraid to ask questions. It can really be beneficial to helping you better understand what you want to do.

How did Shadow Day benefit you in the long term?

Shadow Day helped me better understand myself, the nonprofit sector as a whole, the opportunity we have in the Kansas City area to be part of this great nonprofit community and helped me know Ronald McDonald House Charities would be a dream job location for me. I left RMHC that day feeling so excited about graduating and wanting to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector. Everyone was so passionate about their work and was willing to always go one step beyond, whether that was for a family they were serving, a fellow staff member, or even a Shadow Day student like me. It was like all negativity stopped down the street. It was not a dreaded workplace, it was an amazing place to be. Now I am working as their Volunteer Engagement Coordinator! I don't think I would be where I am without the positive experience I had during Shadow Day, to know that I wanted to be part of the nonprofit sector and that Ronald McDonald House Charities was definitely a place I would apply.

Are you a student interested in a nonprofit career? Shadow Day 2019 is Friday, October 18! Learn more about this year's Shadow Day event.