Internship Profile: Attollo (non-profit)

Attollo is the Latin word meaning to strive for something, to reach for a goal. It is an integral part of the Children Deserve A Chance Foundation, founded by Jordan Steffy, because it provides services that help young people as they strive to achieve the educational success crucial to the development of leadership roles. One of the ways they have done this, and the one that I am most familiar with, is the SAT preparation boot camp. Other leadership programs for high school students include a program for college visits, coding instruction, and programs to develop entrepreneurship and business planning.

The company mission is defined by their five core values, which are relevant to team members and students alike. These values are as follows: Strong mind, Competition, Resiliency, Accountability, Sacrifice, and Finish Strong. The basic meaning of these core pillars was demonstrated by the work I observed being done at the site. Being a part of the program required a strong mind because students must learn how to take on difficult challenges. Competition is a healthy motivating factor that encourages enjoyment and allows people to be recognized for their achievements and is balanced by the resiliency needed to recover from the various rejections, setbacks, and losses that are inevitably faced in life. Sacrifice links with the competitive mindset, as future gains often require losing something in the present. Accountability is the understanding that our actions affect others; this is to encourage helping others. And the final part of the core pillar is to finish strong, which is another way of saying not to get comfortable and start coasting as the finish line approaches. All projects should be handled with intensity from start to finish.

The Rubik’s cube is emblematic of a challenge most people consider too difficult to solve, but it can be learned with patience and instruction. It is a symbol of Attollo with good reason, as it demonstrates what one can do with training and persistence. While working at Attollo, I had to be open to solving problems at a moments’ notice. The most important thing I learned about having a strong mind is that by working with others and being open to finding a solution, most problems could be solved.

I had a chance to see these core values in action while working at Attolo. These values were not simply values spoken to the students who came to the organization and participated in the SAT boot camp, but values that all of the staff and management demonstrated daily. I observed that Attollo had a loose structure that allowed for multi-tasking and generalizing. While the individual staff specialized in their major skill set, they were able to perform multiple tasks or work outside of their assigned skill set whenever needed. Rarely was anybody idle because if there was work to be done, anybody could handle it.

Attollo helped me grow as a person. I can’t emphasize the connections and reconnections I have made with the community as a result of my time here. I have been able to manage my own time, create lesson plans, work with individuals to help them reach a desired goal, and even make a multitude of friends along the way. I have learned how important interpersonal interactions are for cultural and intellectual developments. Working for Attollo has connected me to the local community and has helped me gain a renewed appreciation for downtown Lancaster and the surrounding areas. I have gained a sense of what people struggle for, and what they are able to go through in order to achieve a goal. I have also learned that all interactions do not have to be extremely formal, that some degree of friendliness and a little laughter goes a long way towards aiding the learning process. Overall, working at Attollo has greatly impacted my personal growth because of these previously mentioned things. I believe it will continue to do so, and that the experience will become an important part of who I am as the lessons I learn here carry into the future.