Christina Diette came to I Love A Clean San Diego in September 2011 looking to gain experience in event coordination and make use of a love for the outdoors that she gained growing up in a rural community. Since her start as the Community Events Intern, she has attended six outreach events and cleanups, and has spent countless hours in the office helping with event preparation, volunteer recruitment, and program maintenance.
My father often tells me that he doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up. Somehow, I seem to have gained the same mentality. Almost three years after earning my undergraduate degree in History, I have yet to determine what I want to be when I grow up. With our current economy making it hard for graduates such as myself to find careers pertaining to our degrees, the world may still hold opportunities to travel down a rewarding path. Over the past four months, that path in my life has been with I Love A Clean San Diego.
According to Daniel Pink in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, people are more motivated and satisfied in their work lives if they believe they are working for a purpose greater than themselves. As an intern at ILACSD, I do believe I am working toward a greater cause. With every email I send asking for volunteers and with every early Saturday morning I spend checking in volunteers at clean-up sites, I am making a difference in this organization’s ability to fulfill its mission to help the community learn about and participate in enhancing our local environment.
My experience at ILACSD has been varied and eye opening. I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the extreme amount of refuse that ends up in the Tijuana River. I helped young children recognize the difference between trash and recyclables at a street fair. I spent an evening at a mixer surrounded by eco-conscious locals and vendors on the rooftop of a green-certified hotel, and walked the streets of Pacific Beach counting cigarette butts to determine the success of the organization’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. I have always recycled, but this internship has showed me just how many more ways one can help make a difference.
Like my father, I may not know what I want to be when I grow up. I do know, however, that continuing to live an environmentally responsible lifestyle is a priority, wherever life takes me. Making a difference, however small, is the opportunity that ILACSD has afforded me and what I have learned here will stay with me always.