Hadeed Habib | CIIP 2023 Blog Portfolio


There were a couple of challenging things about orientation week but the predominant one was definitely the way I was pushed out of my comfort zone in front of a group of people I had never met before! The first couple days were definitely kind of anxiety-inducing as we all learned who each other was as well as what the group dynamics were. The different activities we did really helped with this, as did the group lunches and by the end of the week I felt much more comfortable sharing my experiences and thoughts with the other interns. The activity that really forced me to be more comfortable with those around me was the theater group activity, it kind of pushed me directly out of being comfortable and forced interactions with new people. While the aspect of being randomly paired with a stranger and having to use physicality in an expressive way I hadn’t before was initially a point of discomfort, after I saw that everyone else felt the same way I began to acclimate quickly and began to actually enjoy the activity. By the end of the day I felt as though my actual personality had come out rather than the semi business-professional character I had been putting on to some degree for the first half of the week. I really enjoyed the parts of orientation which focused on gaining a better understanding of everyone else’s thought processes and their individual interests and placements. The discussion following the activity where we grouped ourselves based on criteria provided by the theater group was a perfect example of this. Seeing how the different groups approached a pretty wide open topic and debated the way they organized themselves was massively interesting, especially as people grappled with how their aspects are perceived versus how they are self labeled. Seeing how we can be a collective working through different avenues towards community change was incredible!


Week 1

During this week, I’ve come in contact with a lot of different aspects of Baltimore that I had not seriously considered before my CIIP internship. The first of these is in regards to transportation. My placement is in a very central portion of Baltimore within Inner Harbor and exists within the White L. Even with this, the methods through which I have to get to work are frustrating and tiresome. On Monday and Tuesday, I waited over 20 minutes each time for the silver bus before having to walk 20 minutes to the purple line. The transit app and the bus lines are simply not reliable in their timeliness or efficiency. This is also indicative of a much worse issue in that I live in the area of Baltimore where transportation is at its best. For those who live in the Black Butterfly, transportation to work hubs in the White L is both costly and time intensive; this actively places their jobs and lives at risk as they juggle family requirements, work, and the issue of transportation. While this is a job for me, I also operate with the added cushion of being a CIIP intern, thus me being a little late is not the end of the world and is simply a major annoyance. For those with labor jobs in Baltimore, however, these forms of transportation issues may lead to the loss of their livelihood as employers choose to fire those who appear late repeatedly. Along with this experience, I also learned something interesting about Inner Harbor this week in that I found that no one I work with actually lives in the neighborhood or even adjacent neighborhoods. Everyone comes from Waverly or other parts of Baltimore. This just made it exceptionally clear to me that these neighborhoods in the White L force citizens to travel there for work even if logistically it would make more sense to find a local job near their residency.


Week 2

Adjusting to my workplace has been a pretty interesting experience! I was nervous before starting my internship because I didn’t know how to navigate a workplace setting that was as formal as this one! The day I started, however, put me at ease as I realized my office was pretty casual and laidback. I found that in person working was also great for my productivity as I focused really well on my tasks without outside interference. The issue in transition began for me when I shifted to virtual later in the week on Wednesday. Finding a place to do work was my first issue; I thought I would be able to work in my apartment but quickly found that living home and work was not good for my ability to focus. The second issue was that I had not clear set list or time to finish things. I addressed both these things as the week went on when I set clear google calendar due dates for certain tasks and made sure to work in cafes near my house. In the end I feel as though my transition has improved this last week but I still struggle with keeping my productivity as high as I have had it in person. Hopefully, I continue to improve as I set more deadlines and reminders regarding checkpoints in work!


Week 3

A typical day for me at my internship differs based on if I am working in the office or virtually. On my in person days (Monday and Tuesday), I typically go into the office around 10 am. My supervisor, Reah, is already there by this point and has started working on her stuff for the day at the desk behind me; we start the day off by discussing what tasks she would like done first and essentially triaging the various events and goals we have for the week. I will then usually go ahead and grab myself some coffee or tea from the shared space. For the next couple hours, both my supervisor and I will work independently, while also making time for check-ins and questions. I will typically focus first on working through my email and updating an excel sheet I created a few weeks ago with all the contacts I’ve made with neighborhood associations. After finishing up with my emails, I’ll move towards working on marketing. This will usually look like me creating some Canva designs for Instagram, as well as bookmarks and yard signs. Around 1:00 pm I’ll have a meeting with my supervisor and go over what I should do for the rest of the day. Following this, I’ll go on lunch for an hour and usually go for a walk until it’s time to head back to the office. After lunch I’ll finish up whatever I have left from the morning and then make calls to associations! Then I get off work at around 6 pm and make my way home. On virtual days, I usually follow the same structure but have looser restraints regarding what I do. I’ll make myself breakfast and lunch while I do work rather than taking a whole hour break. I usually use texts to check in with my supervisor on these days, in addition to our zoom check ins on Thursdays!


Week 4

I feel as though my goals for the summer have changed drastically over the last four weeks. I know that we were told during orientation that we should lower our expectations for the amount of change we want to produce because we likely won’t have the time to do as much as we hope to but I don’t think I recognized that truly until this last week. During the preliminary weeks where I was setting up my outreach and marketing plans, I was extremely hopeful and excited to see how the different bookmarks, yard signs, and flyers I made would look in various coffee shops and bookstores; after this last week, however, I’ve realized that most of the things I’ve made won’t be ready for use until around September due to budgeting and planning schedules for my organization. Similarly, almost all the outreach I have done to farmers markets and neighborhood associations have resulted in plans made for after my internship period is done. Seeing this, I’ve had to reevaluate my goals for what I hope to accomplish this summer. Now, I hope to provide a basic database of potential partnerships as well as some initial partner plans for CASA to use after CIIP ends for the summer. This has been a somewhat difficult change for me as I hoped to help out more and see the impact of the work I’ve been doing. Simultaneously with the let down of not being able to do as much, however, I’ve also learned a great deal about the planning and structure of non-profit work. The amount of time, planning, and money it takes to create a seemingly straightforward set of marketing tools was not something I expected before my internship but is something I’ve learned quickly in recent weeks and has created a newfound appreciation in me for even the seemingly smallest bit of work non-profits do.


Week 5

Throughout the course of my internship, I’ve learned a bevy of skills that will help support me in my future career plans as well as just generally in any work setting! The first set of these skills are more soft skills, they are characteristics or specific capabilities that have been enhanced by my time at CASA. These skills include organization, time efficiency, and professional communication to name a few. My organization skills have vastly improved over the last few weeks as having to keep track of all my projects and the various work each one requires has required very clear and distinguishable organization in order to avoid confusion. Along with organization, time management has played a major role as I have had to determine which project needs the most time and attention and which ones can be worked on at a later point. My professional communication has also improved massively; seeing the way in which business emails and communication with local organization partners is done has informed mw greatly on how to approach and interact with others while in a non-profit partnership building setting. All these skills have provided me with an excellent head start to my future career plans and have enabled me to transition easier into the workforce. I have also learned some hard skills during my time at CASA. I have figured out how to send mass emails, optimize the way Microsoft Office is used, utilize One Drive efficiently, and understand legal cases and jargon better. This last one is particularly important as I want to go into law and seeing first hand how the legal system interacts with foster care cases has provided me with a better understanding of how to decode legal vocabulary and documents!