My name is Carley Raybon and I am currently a public relations student at The University of Alabama. Last semester, as I thought about entering my senior year, I knew I needed to gain experience within the field. Alabama has one of the top communications and public relations programs in the country and opportunities are continuously being thrown at students from several top companies from around the world. I knew, however, that I wanted to be a part of something that gave back and began to think of where I could use the knowledge from my classes to best serve others.

I had always wanted to be in a sorority, and Alabama has one of the largest Greek systems in the United States. Going through recruitment in Fall 2013, I learned about the philanthropic organizations that several sororities served, some I had heard of, and some I had not. Eventually, I accepted a bid to join Kappa Alpha Theta, whose national philanthropy I was not familiar with at the time, Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA.

Throughout my first semester as a new member, I learned more about CASA and was excited to serve an organization whose main priority was to help children. Every fall and spring, our chapter hosts different events to raise money for CASA, and we work hard to raise awareness for the cause on a campus where it isn’t widely known.

In January 2016, I got the opportunity to attend Kappa Alpha Theta’s annual winter service trip to New Orleans with 19 of my sisters from different chapters around the country. While there, we visited New Orleans CASA, where we learned about a volunteer who had continued to serve the child she was assigned to even after she aged out of the foster care system, and that was so inspiring to me. That’s when it hit me that this organization was something I wanted to be more involved in.

Shortly after this trip, my family told me we were moving to Denver, and I knew I needed to reach out to Denver CASA to inquire about a summer internship. After doing some research, I contacted their Director of Fund Development and Public Relations, and everything fell into place from there!

As a newcomer to Colorado, I was more than excited to dive into my summer internship with CASA last week and begin to find my place in this big city. So far, I have visited the courthouse and met people involved with the juvenile court system, learned more about the inner workings of the organization, and even got to explore the food truck scene (a great perk of working downtown)!

I look forward to what the rest of my time here holds and continuing to try to make a difference in children’s lives. I also look forward to bringing a new perspective on CASA back to my sisters in the fall so we can make even more of an impact as a sorority!

During my internship, I hope to gain real world experience and also learn more about public relations within a non-profit organization. I want to build lasting relationships with the people I am working with and other people around the city. Most of all, I would like to grow as a person and as a professional throughout my time here, and by the end of the summer, I want to feel like I have made an impact on the Denver community!