As a Housing and Urban Development organization, the main focus at Alameda Point Collaborative is to provide housing for people who were previously homeless. Along with this basic necessity, APC offered many services to residents in hopes of providing tools and resources so residents can remain out of homelessness and poverty once they leave APC. These resources include a child and teen center, a computer lab for adults to look for jobs, mental health counseling, and on the job training. The particular program I am working with for these eight weeks is the Farm2Market program which is one APC job training program. Trainees work on the farm a certain number of hours a week and through the program they learn job skills that they can use in future jobs. Through my eight weeks, I will be spending half of my time on the farm learning about the program and work alongside the trainees. The other half of the time I will be in the office helping with accounting and marketing for the program. Since the program is so new, infrastructure has to be developed in order for the program to expand.
There hasn’t been anything that I haven’t enjoyed about my job so far. I have really loved the mix of outdoor and indoor work with the program. I love the farm work and love seeing all the produce grow and all our hard work come to fruition. With the farm work, I can see short term goals being accomplished. I also enjoy the office work because I begin to see long term goals being shaped and see ways to accomplish them. I think I would go crazy if I was in an office all day and would be completely exhausted if I spent my eight hours a day on the farm so having both options is perfect for my personality.
Since I don’t have an accounting background, that aspect of the job has been challenging. However, I have a lot of helpful people who are resources in the office so the challenge is more of a learning experience rather than a struggle. This has definitely helped me see the business side of non-profits. Because of this the challenge has become something I enjoy about my job.
I hope to learn more about the behind the scenes operation of a non-profit- how it gets funding, what guidelines does it have to follow, etc. I also hope in the coming weeks a more concrete idea of how APC wants the accounting and marketing for the Farm2Market program will appear as Evan and I collaborate more and work with others in the office like Lisa and Andrea.
As far as my contributions in the coming weeks, I want to be able to help the Farm2Market program establish an accounting system that will help them easily keep records that are necessary for the program. If the program wants to expand, they need to be able to have financial records to show how the program runs. I also want to establish a marketing strategy that works within the structure of the program and APC and is feasible for the size of the program while also being creative and impactful. For the program to expand and to get more people buying produce we have to find ways to reach larger audiences. It would be amazing to use social media to help promote the program and expand the people that buy shares.