Jumping In and Finding Joy

Dec 20, 2021

My name is Jensen Nida and I’m a sophomore at Bates College in Maine. This fall, I took a leave of absence and found myself back in my hometown of Seattle itching for purpose. I showed up at the Companis office one day to help prepare newsletters for mailing.

I heard about Companis through a family friend but I barely knew what it was. So there I was, sitting at the large, wooden conference table, stamping envelopes, and all I could focus on were the conversations fluttering around me. The people in the office that day – Gary, Donna, Erin, Jen – were all so passionate, kind and inspiring. I had never been in a proper office before. My idea of a workplace was gray cubicles and passive aggressive comments about the communal coffee marker. But instead, I was surrounded by windows showcasing the fall foliage. There was laughter, concentration, and there were no passive aggressive comments about coffee! At the end of my day, I was asked if I would be interested in an internship. Erin Hennessey, Communications & Community Engagement Manager, needed help redesigning the blog part of our website so it was easier to navigate the amazing, countless testimonials we have. How could I say no?

Over the past three months, I organized Companis’ seemingly infinite media archive into a spreadsheet. These are articles, videos, and newsletters where nonprofits and volunteers talk about their experiences. Then I edited videos to be shorter and wrote summaries to accompany each one, creating more stand-alone stories that demonstrate who we are. 

There is something about being young that is overwhelming. For me, career paths have always been a looming pile of stress. I’m one of those people who doesn’t want to choose. Social Justice, Art, History, Science, Education…it feels like no job could bridge them all. I’m lucky, I have adults in my life telling me to be patient, and that I don’t have to choose. But it doesn’t matter when you’re my age. Growing up is the biggest, scariest thing. How could we not obsessively plan and fear it? 

Sorting through all of these stories, it hit me. There are such diverse jobs in the world. In my head, the options were still “Astronaut, Ballerina, Fireman, etc.” But Companis Workers encompass all kinds of specialists with all types of backgrounds. I was literally categorizing all the paths people have taken, reading through their careers, watching the twists and turns unfold. This is when I started to accept that my major is not my future job. That my interests will follow me throughout life. That passion is what builds community. 

I found myself excited to show up to my Companis internship each day. I’ve learned about so many causes, so many solutions, and all the intersections of service. It was incredibly difficult to categorize it all. The nonprofits Companis work with serve communities in so many ways. There is so much hard work that needs to be done in our world, and it’s honestly been overwhelming to see how much of that work is supported by Companis. In my head, Companis is the nonprofit for nonprofits, a community for volunteers, and networking for people who find more than passion, but purpose in serving. 

I am beyond thankful for my time with Companis. Redesigning the Blog (soon to be “Our Stories”) taught me more than just how websites work, it taught me how much good a person and a nonprofit can do. I’m grateful I could give just a little to the people who give a lot.