WASHINGTON (August 22, 2000) -- Seven young Catholics are spending their summer helping people to help themselves -- and getting paid for it. They are interns with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and they were selected for the program through a nationwide process.
The goal of the ten-week CCHD Internship Placement program is to engage young people in the mission and work of the Campaign and give them an opportunity they might not otherwise have: to make a difference in their community and get paid for doing so.
This year's interns are serving CCHD in the national office here and in five diocesan offices:
Silvia Anglin is a Bronx, N.Y., native who hopes that the summer experience in the CCHD national office will help guide her professional interest in studying law and political science. She is now developing a Multi-media Youth Arts contest for CCHD, which will spotlight the artistic talents of young people who are sensitive to those living in poverty.
Ken DeBlois is also working in the CCHD national office this summer. The sociology major is collecting extensive information on previously funded economic development projects and visiting current CCHD sites. The experience, he says, "has allowed me to see firsthand how low-income people can work together to make a difference in their communities. I had never seen empowerment work this way."
Isabel Fernandez, a Ph.D. candidate in Theology, is developing a youth component for the CCHD office in the Diocese of Orlando, and serving as a liaison to local grassroots organizations. She sees the summer experience as an opportunity to put her education and teaching experience to good use for the poor. "The opportunity to witness to, accompany and serve the poor should be understood as a gift of grace," Isabel explains.
Chrystine Lawson is interning in the CCHD office in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, where she is building relationships between the Catholic parishioners and funded groups. She sees the internship as "a stepping stone to further my involvement in the Church and in the lives of others who have not had the same opportunities I have had."
Yolanda Santos is developing a website for CCHD's use in public relations in the Diocese of Burlington. She wants to "use her talents to create a product that actually informs, motivates and influences people about CCHD and what it stands for."
Stephanie Schorsten is working in her home Diocese of Youngstown to determine the feasibility of developing faith-based organizing in Canton, Ohio. As a student of Spanish and sociology, she wants to "gain a better understanding of how my diocese is implementing the social teaching of the Church."
Veronica Torres is splitting her internship in the Archdiocese of Chicago between creating a database for the Peace and Justice office and developing a college housing experience for first generation Latino students. She says, "I want the community to recognize that the Church is and can be an active partner in the community."
Now in its 30th year, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development was established by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to fight the root causes of poverty as a means of reinforcing both Scripture and the Church's social teaching. CCHD is the nation's largest private funder of self-help projects which help people to work together to overcome their poverty.
The CCHD Internship Placement Program is offered in the fall and the summer. Additional information is available from Alicia Bondanella at the CCHD national office at 202-541-3151 or at the CCHD web site: www.nccbuscc.org/cchd/internship.shtml
For additional information, contact Barbara Stephenson, CCHD, 202-541-3364, firstname.lastname@example.org.