Journey Story

Behind The Scenes: Believe Out Loud’s Internship Program

by John Robinson

Interns like John are invaluable to our work at Believe Out Loud. Donate today to continue our Internship Program.

Hello, Believe Out Loud readers! My name is John, and I was the graphic design intern for Believe Out Loud this past summer. In May, I obtained my BFA from Frostburg State University, and I’ve spent my time since my summer internship traveling overseas, in London, studying at the University of Westminster. I’ve been having a great time exploring the countryside and absorbing the beautiful sites of Europe!

When I applied for the Believe Out Loud Internship Program in May, I knew I was taking a risk.

For you see, I was in the closet throughout grade school and college, and I was in the process of coming out to my close friends towards the end of my last year of college. By applying for a position with a LGBTQ organization, I was ready to be comfortable with my sexuality and start the journey toward personal growth.

However, I was worried about how I would explain this internship opportunity to my mom, since I hadn’t come out to her yet (I eventually came out to her in late July). Ultimately I knew that I would be not only be gaining valuable experience as a designer, but I would also be figuring out my place in the gay community.

Overall, my experience at BOL was eye opening. The office was located on a floor with other LGBTQ organizations that are all working toward a better future for the LGBTQ community.

I felt proud to not only be working for Believe Out Loud, but to be surrounded by individuals who didn’t judge me by my race or sexuality, but rather, by the content of my character. 

In my first week, I began by assisting Alison, Believe Out Loud’s senior editor, in the selection of photographs to use for blog posts, which proved to be more of a tedious process than I expected! The photos you see on the blogs aren’t just nice photos we happen to stumble upon. The editorial team spends a great deal of time looking for the perfect photo to properly reflect the essence of each topic.

But my main focus throughout my internship was to revamp Believe Out Loud’s existing social media memes to highlight the organization’s mission and work. As we assessed the small details of each meme to create a seamless, branded look, I adopted a keener eye for detail in my work. I also created print materials to share the message of Believe Out Loud at events, and we worked on another project that will be launched in the coming months!

I became a stronger designer through my internship at Believe Out Loud, and I’m blessed to have found this opportunity right after college. For some time now, I’ve wondered if I could see myself working for a design studio or working freelance. But since my first internship in 2010, I’ve worked for only non-profit organizations. This was not my goal when I started working, and I don’t find this to be a coincidence!

I believe in my heart that God is setting me on a path to lend my talents for a special cause, similar to my amazing experience at Believe Out Loud.

Thanks for the memories.

Believe Out Loud’s interns need your support—please give now.

Photo by Rachel DeWoody via John Robinson