This summer, nine Centre College students are working to improve the lives of the impoverished through an internship program that pairs students from the colleges and universities that make up the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) with agencies across the country.
During the eight-week Shepherd Internship Program (SIP), students learn how to address such issues as community building, economic development, healthcare, homelessness, job placement and nutrition.
“I think what interested me the most about being a Shepherd intern was the communal aspect associated with the internship,” said Josh Rosa ’20 (Boston, Massachusetts), who is interning at the public defender’s office in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“What’s great about this experience is that we are working alongside active community members of indigent communities,” he continued. “We are working with—not for—those in need. Personally, coming from an impoverished community myself, giving back has always been important to me and the Shepherd internship gave me that opportunity.”
While in Greensboro, Rosa will shadow three defense attorneys, interview clients at the county jail and conduct research on case files.
“I am most looking forward to the hands-on experience working with defense attorneys,” he added. “Having prior knowledge of the amazing work that public defenders do, with such limited resources, I am excited to be a helping hand in the work they do to serve those who need it most.”
“Being a Shepherd intern has already been such a phenomenal experience,” she said. “Meeting so many people who are passionate about the effects of poverty, and specifically the effects of poverty on education and the state of public education, was very interesting.”
In her position, Couch strengthens the relationships between the program and families. She will be creating and sending a weekly newsletter home with parents, and therefore, will be spending time with all of the students in every classroom in order to see what activities they’re completing and what their learning goals and outcomes are for the week.
In addition, Couch will be planning and implementing four special family engagement activities and will complete a community needs assessment in hopes of discovering what type of event the families would like to see this summer.
“For me, this is the first step to learning how I can get closer to solving and alleviating symptoms of poverty for children,” Couch said. “I am very passionate about education and the importance of quality public education, and I know this summer will provide me with the experience to know what I want to do in the next step in life and after Centre.”
Will Vineyard ’19 (Louisville, Kentucky) is interning in Roanoke, Virginia, with Total Action for Progress (TAP) in veteran services.
His work will revolve around helping at-risk veterans and their families find employment for a stable income and housing. Vineyard will shadow case workers, and also revise and update the resource catalog.
“As a Bonner Scholar, I have developed and expanded my passion for service and community building,” he said. “The SIP offered me the opportunity to work with a unique community that I don’t have much experience with. In the process, I hope to gain skills and knowledge related to community service that I can bring back to Centre and Danville and wherever I end up in the future.
“Shepherd is about humbling yourself before a community, listening intently to what it needs the most, then offering that service to the best of your ability,” he concluded.
by Kerry Steinhofer
June 20, 2018
Header photo: Back row (left to right): Hannah Gibbs ’19, Margaux Curless ’19, Josh Rosa ’20, Lorna Closeil ’20 and Mindy Wilson, assistant director of Center for Career and Professional Development. Front row (left to right): Will Vineyard ’19, Luisa Murilla ’19, Holly Couch ’20, Stephanie Keller ’20 and Brennen Amonett ’19.