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How did I get myself into this project? 

My DukeEngage remote independent project is with Kidznotes, a non-profit musical education program for students in pre-K -12th grades. Kidznotes encourages educational enrichment through instrumental, choir, music theory, general music, orchestra, and band instructions. Kidznotes partners with North Carolina schools in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. In light of the unprecedented time brought by COVID-19, the onset of remote work has posed many challenges for student and donor engagement at Kidznotes. I am serving as a Development Intern alongside the communications team. My service project will be to assist in communications efforts on summer and fall re-engagement of donors, students, and families.

Since my freshman year at Duke, I have volunteered under Kidznotes as a flute tutor. Initially, my engagement with this NGO mainly served to stay connected with the musical hobby that I had been cultivating since middle school. Over the span of three years, my mission with Kidznotes changed from personal cultivation to caring about the bigger picture. Kidznotes empowers kids in the triangle area with access to musical education. Working with Kidznotes this summer as a Development Intern is an opportunity to make an impact in this bigger picture capacity.

How I am feeling right now?

I am most surprised by the difficulty in virtual communication. In my previous experience with office settings, I always found that emails were the clearest way to communicate. However, since everybody is self-isolating with their families, keeping on top of emails has become more than being updated on your inbox at the office. For many, it has become a balancing act between two world colliding, home and work. As a result, email response times are slow and Zoom meetings bear meeting notes that are the most effective in gathering information and support. I am most worried about keeping clear lines of communication this fall. Many of the projects I am working on require small, immediate inputs from my supervisor and coworkers, which just isn’t possible with Zoom meetings that have to be scheduled ahead of time.

I am most excited about developing my photo and video editing skills. The Adobe Creative Cloud is very intimidating, so having a project to create is a chance to practice and explore some Adobe programs.

The largest outstanding questions I have about my partner organization right now is about their plans for the fall semester. I’m removed from the planning process since that is above my pay grade, but I’d still like to hear the rationale behind the decisions being made about education.