My name is Meg Jernigan and I am a Sophomore at Chapman University. I am a Communication Studies major and aspiring Leadership minor. I am interning as a Program Lead with the PALS Programs. PALS is a nonprofit organization that creates immersive experiences where young adults with Down syndrome and their peers have fun and grow as individuals. 

Last summer was my first time with PALS. I was a Team Lead for the PALS San Francisco camp. This experience was truly life-changing. I met incredible human beings that inspire and influence me to this very day. I knew I wanted to continue my involvement with PALS therefore I decided interning and becoming a Program Lead was the best next step. 

The San Francisco Program Lead Internship involved the creation and development of partnerships, programming and overall experience of PALS San Francisco 2023. In addition, the collaboration with members of the PALS community to further the PALS impact. 

I had to complete deliverables throughout my internship experience. These included the following:

  • Attend monthly trainings and leadership training weekend
  • Collaborate with co-leads to build an immersive PALS experience meeting all programming standards while fostering an inclusive community of participants and volunteers,
  • Conduct outreach to local businesses in California area to build new partnerships and increased VIK opportunities within the scope of program budget
  • Build, revise, and finalize the schedule for PALS San Francisco incorporating all staff feedback, new partnerships, and inclusive on-campus activities
  • Support ongoing recruitment outreach through retention–focused communications
  • Engage and connect with PALS volunteers through Peer-to-Peer fundraising campaign: sending communications for encouragement and gratitude and provide weekly report to supervisor documenting hours and progress on all work.

Some of my responsibilities included the following: Researching and connecting with potential community partners in California, supporting the ongoing efforts around Peer-to-Peer fundraising campaigns across the country, and supporting the volunteer recruitment efforts in the California region, recruit new campers & volunteers from all backgrounds to experience a week at camp, host introductory calls with all participants attending their program to welcome them and get to know them, design a program that is responsive to previous seasons

’ feedback, aligns with PALS Programming Standards, and facilitates inclusivity and friendship across racial, gender, ability status, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic lines, foster partnerships within the local community to increase program quality and secure value-in-kind, allocate program funds scrupulously and develop a well-balanced budget, work collaboratively with a co-Program Leads to complete all aspects of planning and executing camp, and fundraise for PALS Programs and meet all training and deliverable deadlines, as described in the Program Lead Guide.

My internship in communication with PALS has been an incredible journey filled with valuable experiences and lessons. Our volunteer-led programs change attitudes, transform lives, and inspire a world of belonging. I know this is possible and I am honored to be a part of making it come to life!