Westmont Magazine A Dream Internship
Meghan Daily ’04 began an internship at the Dream Foundation with more than just an interest in learning and serving. She brought a deep understanding of what it means to be seriously ill.
During her sophomore year in college, Meghan developed a serious and rare blood disease that destroyed her plasma. She spent three months in the hospital under-going daily blood treatments. Eventually, her kidneys failed, and she learned she needed a transplant. But Meghan and her family never gave up hope. Four months later, against all odds, her kidneys bounced back.
“God is so good,” Meghan says. “I am walking proof that miracles do happen.” She returned to Westmont and graduated on time with her class, earning a degree in English.
“Support from the college community during and after my illness was amazing,” she says. “The Gaedes sent me balloons, the board prayed for me regularly, and Dean Jane Higa helped me readjust to school life. Students supported me with friendship and prayer — the relationships I have developed at Westmont surpass anything I ever imagined.”
Her illness never slowed Meghan down. During college years, she led a small group, served on the Orientation core team, helped Transition House put on the Casablanca Ball, worked with junior high students at Ocean Hills Church and belonged to the Student Health Center Advisory committee, which organized blood drives on campus.
Meghan considers her internships two of her most important college experiences. Involvement with the Dream Foundation and the Orfalea Foundation taught her about her gifts and how to use them in a career that serves others.
“I discovered that I enjoy working with non-profit organizations and that I can make a living doing it,” Meghan says, “I also had an opportunity to hone some of my skills.”
Meghan became interested in community service at a young age, and she was excited to learn she could get college credit for hands-on work in the professional world.
An internship with the Dream Foundation turned out to be a perfect fit. The organization grants wishes to people who are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Working with Executive Director Carol Brown, Meghan learned how to organize information, assemble press kits and coordinate projects. She used a variety of skills, including her love of scrapbooking, to create photo memoirs of dreams come true.
As a senior, Meghan became a paid intern with the Orfalea Foundation. This private family foundation supports high quality, preventative and experiential community programs that benefit children, youth and underprivileged families.
The Orfalea Foundation offered Meghan opportunities that exceeded ordinary internships. In addition to coordinating events, she observed the grant review and selection process and learned how difficult it is to cull out awardees from many deserving non-profit organizations. Meghan took an active role in a specific project: sending 24 middle and high school students to Montana for a three-week wilderness expedition program for underprivileged teens.
Her inexperience never fazed the foundation officials. “When I told them I had never done a certain task before, they said, ‘Just give it a shot,’” Meghan says. “That was so motivating!”
Days after her internship with Orfalea ended, Meghan began a full-time job as development assistant for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health in Palo Alto, Calif.; a fitting start to her dream for a purpose-driven life.