A Postcard From: Aldercy Lam ’19

Name: Aldercy Lam
Class Year: 2019
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Philadelphia
Internship Placement: Art-Reach
Job Title: Program Intern
Location: 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

Art-Reach is a tiny team of five, so my everyday responsibilities require assisting any member of the team whenever I’m needed. Because we are in constant communication with human service agencies and art partners (museums, theaters, and cultural organizations), my duties usually fall within that line of correspondence. For example, I process the ticket requests that the agencies send us through a program, and then email our art partners to make it happen. I also mail out thank you letters from our members to Art Partners and donors. Additionally, I get out of the office and assist in adaptive art workshops. This past week I went on a touch tour at the Philadelphia Theatre Company with the Associated Services for the Blind (ASB), where we were able to get on stage and feel the different props.

Why did you apply for this internship?

The initial reason why I was attracted to Art-Reach was because I was passionate in assisting them with their mission. Taking sociology courses opened my eyes to the way systematic inequality has produced real consequences on underserved communities. After taking these courses and declaring a sociology major, I’ve decided that I want to pursue a career where I can support the individuals and families facing these challenges.
At Art-Reach, we accomplish this by bringing art to members of the low-income and disability communities. I was especially interested in this organization because they are based in Philadelphia, where there are an abundance of art programs that are unfortunately often only accessible to wealthy, able-bodied people. At Art-Reach, we bridge this gap by connecting underserved communities with art partners using support from public and private donations.

What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?

By working at Art-Reach, I’ve learned to check my able-bodied privilege and make sure to be more inclusive by keeping in mind the different accommodations one may need. A common but harmful assumption people make is that a “normal” person is able-bodied. There are people with disabilities and they have to face barriers that those without disabilities do not even think about. I felt guilty when I first realized my ignorance, but now I’m learning how I can make things more accessible for everyone.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding part of my internship would be knowing that I have a direct positive role in supporting communities. Sometimes I can go on tours and live out these experiences with our members, but when I can’t I still know that I’ve helped in getting our members to the play or museum when I process the ticket requests from my cubicle.