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July 17, 2015
By Nikeila Jensen, media relations assistant
Northwest Missouri State University student Micaela Vaccaro is applying her communications experience and giving back to the community during a summer internship with Youth Volunteer Corps in Kansas City, Mo.
Youth Volunteer Corps is a national non-profit organization with nearly 40 branches in the U.S. and Canada. The organization’s mission focuses on providing volunteer opportunities for children between the ages of 11 and 18 years old to meet community needs and foster a passion for service.
Vaccaro, a senior public relations major from Harrisonville, Mo., updates the organization’s blog and interviews youth volunteers among other tasks. Throughout the summer, she has worked to broaden her skills.
“It is a small office and the communication between employees is phenomenal,” Vaccaro said. “I have been given the opportunity to provide my ideas and opinions regarding multiple projects and, as an intern, it has been such a blessing to feel as if I can truly make a difference with my contributions to the organization.”
She also works directly with a pair of Northwest alumnae. Tracy Hale, who received her bachelor’s degree in international business from Northwest in 1992, is chief operating officer at Youth Volunteer Corps, and Taylor Neff, who received her bachelor’s degree in public relations in 2014, is affiliate expansion coordinator.
When Vaccaro arrived at Northwest, she was unsure of the direction she wanted to take in the communications field. Dr. David Shadinger, assistant professor of communication at Northwest, noticed she showed characteristics of a public relations professional.
"Micaela is a wonderful combination of talent, intelligence, focus and curiosity,” Shadinger said. “She will do well in the PR field because of the work ethic she brings to every project.”
Vaccaro solidified her passion for youth work after five months abroad in Singapore and Thailand where she taught youth discipleship classes.
“I knew that I wanted to work with youth in some capacity after working with the youth group at Moriah Assembly of God while I was in Singapore,” Vaccaro said. “I fell in love with their curiosity and unrestrained enthusiasm.”
Vaccaro plans to complete her bachelor’s degree at Northwest during the spring of 2016 and seek work in a nonprofit or ministry organization.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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