Fighting for Child Rights One Word At a Time: My Experience as a CCRC Intern

Working in the non-profit sector was something that has always been important to me. It has consistently brought me joy knowing that even the smallest of tasks served a much larger purpose. So, when given the opportunity to work as a communications intern for the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC), I was elated to take on the role. My previous experience of working for organizations such as Plan International Canada allowed me to advocate for child rights on an international level in the past, but being able to advocate for children in my own country was something I was very eager to take on. Additionally, as a current student at Ryerson University in the Master of Professional Communication program, I was excited to put my learning into practice.

My journey for four months in 2020 with the CCRC has been overwhelmingly positive. Admittedly, before I had started working with the CCRC, I had never heard of it before and was not entirely sure what to expect. Upon learning more about the CCRC and core values, I believe my greatest takeaway from the CCRC is that child rights is something all individuals innately know is of importance, but can easily be overlooked in the realm of policy making. Although many compose the assumption that this is a universal right all children should have, it’s easy to fall into the expectation that children have this privilege already, or this is an issue that can be solved without necessarily implementing child rights in official government policy. I’ve learned however, that fighting for the implementation of policies is fighting for children to be heard and not overlooked. We are fighting for existing systems that are deemed good, to be much better – and I’m glad I am able to play a small part in making this a reality in Canada.

As the CCRC’s communications intern, I was able to take on a variety of tasks including managing social media, executing a website audit, editing documents and creating an extensive media list. Personally, I am pleased with how well my work was able to coincide with both the theoretical and practical skills my program provided beforehand. Learning about the core values of the CCRC and connecting with them personally is what I believe helped create strong written work. I have learned that a passion behind what you’re communicating is what sets good communication apart from great communication. It was comforting to know my values coincided with the CCRC’s, which further fueled my passion for the protection of child rights. This definitely played a significant role in overcoming one of the toughest obstacles I had to face during my internship; navigating how and what to communicate during a global pandemic. At first, it felt as though the messages I wanted to convey to our audiences were too insignificant amidst the escalation of COVID-19. However, once I began to realize the systematic effects a global pandemic had, I realized that advocating for child rights at a time when they may be more compromised than usual was a unique avenue to share the CCRC’s message. Although the situation of a global pandemic is far from ideal, it provided me with a unique perspective and outlook on why the aims of the CCRC are so crucial to Canadian policy. I am grateful that despite these circumstances, I had a strong platform where I was able to communicate and understand the significance of the message itself.

Finally, my very positive experience was definitely shaped due to the level of support I was provided throughout the internship. Having bi-weekly check ins with CCRC leadership made sure I was always on top of what needed to get done, while having an opportunity for valuable feedback and support. Knowing that no matter what, I had immediate support just an email away provided me with confidence, especially at the beginning of my internship. I would like to thank the CCRC for providing me with such a valuable internship. As cliche as it sounds, I feel lucky to have been given an opportunity to learn while also making a difference.

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