Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Consistency is Key

This is my first blog post about my summer internship at Cradles to Crayons in Brighton, MA. I began interning here during the spring semester and was asked to continue into the summer. I was really excited for this opportunity because I really don’t think that one semester is enough time to really learn as much as you can about a company and the available roles in these types of companies. I was just beginning to really take it all in and am grateful for the opportunity to continue my learning.

Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. Cradles to Crayons supplies these items free of charge and runs with the help of volunteers.

For the first week of my summer session at Cradles to Crayons, we were focusing on consistency. Whenever we receive an order, we have to go into the warehouse and find the items listed in the order form. For example, the order form would say “Boys Sneakers, Size 7 Youth”, but when we would go into the warehouse, our labels would just say “Boys Shoes” and there would be no sneakers available in the bucket. In this case, we would not fulfill the order completely because we did not have the sneakers. This seemed to be happening more often, so we decided to change the labels and name the bins “Everyday Shoes” followed by the size. In this case, we were able to provide shoes for the child even if they were not the sneakers they asked for. This consistency made things run more smoothly and faster. Another example is that an order form would say “School & Arts Supplies age 9” but our bins would say “Arts & Crafts Age 9”. In order to keep things consistent, we changed our bins to match the order forms.

photo 3 photo 4 photo 2 photo 1

At Cradles, we use SalesForce as our database system. This is the program where I do all my scheduling and any order forms that I need to fill out for the week. I am basically either working through SalesForce or through Email. The problem with SalesForce is there it is extremely easy to duplicate volunteers. Sometimes, when I receive an inquiry, I forget to check if the person is already in our database and assume they aren’t, so I go ahead and create a folder for them. Unless they have matching emails, SalesForce will not warn me that I am creating a duplicate person. This scenario has happened hundreds of times. In order to do some clean up, whenever we come across a duplicate, we keep an excel sheet with these contacts listed and at the end of the month, we go ahead and delete or merge the contacts. This way, things become more consistent and the same person isn’t listed twice with a few different volunteer visits.

Next week, I will be helping another co-worker in the office take care of some things for her Teen Leadership presentation.