Haverford students and alums participate in Quaker internships!
Need inspiration for your next summer internship? Interested in working for social justice? Four Haverfordians report back about their summer experiences, in the US and abroad:
Pendle Hill Young Adult Leadership Development Conference
Over the summer, Josh Mussa '13 and Jacki LaBua '13 spent a week at Pendle Hill for their annual Young Adult Leadership Development conference, this year focused on climate change and social action.
Highlights included workshopping nonviolent direct action with members of the EarthQuaker Action Team, learning about global organizations and their efforts to fight climate change, and, of course, eating wonderful Pendle Hill food.
In addition, both Jacki and Josh named their experiences with other young adult friends at the conference to be incredibly moving. “I was intrigued to spend time with people who practice Quakerism differently than I do, diverse in age and background,” Jacki said, describing the social aspect of the conference as complementing the “call to action”. Josh also discussed the spiritual aspect of the conference. “[The conference] truly cemented my sense of belonging to the Religious Society of Friends,” he said.
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La Casa de los Amigos, Mexico City
Annie Boggess '12 and Sam Shain '14 spent the summer at the Quaker center La Casa de los Amigos in Mexico City. Haverford typically sends four students to intern at La Casa, but both Annie and Sam were there for other projects. “La Casa is a very unique place. Everyone says that. There's just nowhere like it,” said Sam, who was doing research on alternative currencies. “The atmosphere is special and unusual and sometimes magical.” Her research also benefited tremendously from the relationships she built with Mexico City locals.
Annie spent the summer as La Casa's Friend in Residence, funded by the CPGC. After beginning her day in worship, Annie held “office hours” for members of the community and La Casa to chat with her about spiritual matters or things that were on their minds. A large part of her summer was spent planning Quakerism workshops, held after Mexico City Monthly Meeting's worship. “These were truly spiritual experiences for me, and I think I offered an opportunity for many F/friends there to engage in conversations that they wanted to have. I think I created a space that was needed and appreciated, and I came to feel very close to that community. I miss them still!” she says of her time there.
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Casa de los Amigos
Graduating? Looking for something a little more full-time? Five Haverford 2012 alums share their experiences working for Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), a DC-based Congressional lobby group, and Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) a brand new Quaker service house in Atlanta, GA.
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Hannah Solomon-Strauss '12, Christine Letts '12, and Annie Boggess '12 are all spending the year interning with FCNL. FCNL interns have diverse projects and goals; however, the main tenet of FCNL's work is to influence public policy through connecting with Congressional representatives and constituents. Hannah, Christine, and Annie are currently the sustainable energy and development, communications, and strategic advocacy interns, respectively.
“Working for FCNL is awesome!” Christine said. “I really enjoy feeling like I’m doing something concrete with visible results and products. And it’s nice to feel like you’re making the world a better place.”
“There really doesn't seem to be a typical day here!” Annie added. “Often I have a larger project that focuses my day or week. Some of these have been writing a newsletter for our contacts at Quaker meetings and churches, coordinating letter writing efforts in those communities, and preparing for and participating in our Field Committee’s recent meeting. I’m in continuous communication with constituents across the country, keeping track of actions that folks have taken and working with them on further steps.”
All three raved about the work environment, too. “People who work at FCNL are uniformly nice, smart and engaged,” Christine said.
“I didn’t anticipate such an easy transition from school to work, but it doesn’t feel as foreign as I thought it would,” Hannah added.
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Quaker Voluntary Service House, Atlanta, GA
Allison Letts '12 and Becca Bass '12 are currently at Quaker Voluntary Service in Atlanta. It's the first year of the program, which has some similarities to Haverford House in Philly—seven young adults, each placed in a different year-long service placement, live in community together.
Allison is working as an assistant teacher at the Frazer Center, which works with children six weeks to five years old. “About 30% of students have disabilities, and we work to create an inclusive environment where everyone is learning and playing together,” Allison said of the program.
Becca is working as a Family Services Assistant for Homeowner Support at Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. “In particular, I'm working to create a "Neighborhood Captain" program and to develop a series of community advocacy workshops,” she said.
The program seems studded with perks. “ QVS is an amazing program! Beyond my job, I have a great community of people to live with, and the Atlanta Friends Meeting has been incredibly welcoming,” Allison said.
Once a month, QVSers also meet with “spiritual nurturers” from the Meeting and have “QVS Day,” where they “work through a broader issue related to Quakerism and developing our community.”
The spiritual aspect of the program was a big draw for both Becca and Allison. “I've been repeatedly struck by how difficult it is to maintain a sense of energy in the face of the challenge of social change,” Becca said. “In choosing this Quaker program, I was seeking a new forum for exploring the dimensions of service work...the support of a new community of people... a place that would help me explore what I have to offer professionally and personally.”
Becca also described her experience at QVS as the only non-Quaker as incredibly rewarding. “While at first I definitely felt out of my element, my newbie questions have started some really great and generative conversations I've been grateful for,” she said.
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