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AARP AARP States Washington Community

Incredible interns: Jaelyn's story

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A year ago, in June of 2023, the AARP Washington state office welcomed a new intern, Jaelyn Sotelo. We are now coming to the end of her time with us as an intern, and, looking back, we truly don't know how we did things without her. She has been instrumental in coordinating volunteer activities, making sure our community events hit all the high points and helping us full-timers keep track of the many things that make up a "day-in-the-life" of AARP outreach.

During her time with us, Jaelyn wrote an article talking about her experiences as an intern, and we thought we would share it with our fabulous volunteers.

Her infectious, positive attitude will be sorely missed, and we are sending her off with great wishes for a successful future career. She deserves all the wonderful experiences that life has to offer.

Here is Jaelyn's story:

Jaelyn Sotelo, a senior at the University of Washington (Seattle) majoring in communications with a double minor in leadership and public policy, is the community outreach and volunteer engagement intern for AARP Washington (Sea-Tac). Her work includes fostering community connections, event planning, collaborating with community partners and coordinating and supporting volunteers. 

I conduct research, propose ideas, and compile data leading to impactful events. I create promotional visuals, immerse myself in AARP's priority issues, maintain excellent customer service and build strong relationships with internal and external partners.

I've gotten practical, real-world experience that's transferable to my coursework and career aspirations. My exposure to aging and advocacy deepened my understanding of social issues. I now have a holistic skill set and insights to support my academic endeavors and career development with AARP and beyond. I've enhanced my interpersonal and communication skills, enriching my ability to collaborate effectively with peers and professors. 

Initially, I saw aging as physical and cognitive decline. Now I see it as a dynamic where individuals continue contributing and pursuing passions. This perspective shift has deepened my commitment to AARP's mission of empowering and improving the lives of older Americans. I'm inspired to disrupt the aging narrative amongst my generation. 

One favorite moment was our July Volunteer Meetup. Meeting our volunteers and seeing how important AARP's work is to them, how dedicated they are, and their genuine camaraderie was deeply emotional. These connections are the soul of our organization. 

At AARP Caregiver Day at the Ballpark. I represented AARP's table and watched our volunteers interact with attendees, sharing their personal experiences and creating a supportive, compassionate environment. It was a testament to the power of community and connection when people come together for a common cause.

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