I Had No Clue

Posted on November 11, 2016 by olivia.erickson

During my last semester before interning with Unseen, a social work professor told my class that we have no clue how much we know until we get into the field.

Similarly, I had no clue how much I had learned from Unseen until I was standing in Africa with an Unseen artist and saw in action how my years of involvement as a volunteer and intern set me up to pursue humanitarian photography. In August, I started off my time as missions intern by attending a photography workshop in Rwanda and that’s where I realized how much Unseen had invested into my life and career.

Somewhere in the days of editing 1,000 sponsorship cards, writing thank you notes, volunteering at events, managing social media, doing administrative tasks, and spending time with the staff, I picked up dozens of little lessons and values. I’ve been challenged to believe deeply that light drives out darkness, hope lives, and to take heart no matter the evil you are fighting.

Unseen has taught me to value the real heroes – our partners who spend every day running organizations that fight human trafficking and its root causes. I’ve learned about media usage and ethics from those who have gone before me. Fundraising philosophies that are present in everything we do has given me insight into how to tell stories in a way that doesn’t rely on guilt, but joy and meaning. These things and more have become the cornerstones of my own personal philosophies in how I approach the world as a humanitarian photographer.

As I come to the end of my time in college, I am beyond thankful that Unseen has been a key part of my education. I’ve found mentors, a community, and life lessons that reach far beyond my days spent in the office. It’s true, you don’t realize how much you know until you put it into practice and I’m excited to keep discovering all the lessons learned from Unseen.


For more information about volunteering or interning at Unseen, email info@weareunseen.org. You can be a part of the work we are doing around the world!

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