As part of the Shepherd Internship Program, Hannah Ely ’21 (Barre, Vermont) will learn how to address such issues as community building, economic development, healthcare, homelessness, job placement and nutrition, while spending eight weeks at the Common Earth Gardens with Catholic Charities of Louisville.
There, Ely is working with refugees through a network of community gardens and incubator farms. Through this process, she will work to connect the farmers to resources and new markets across Louisville.
“I found out about the Shepherd internship early last year and was immediately interested,” Ely said. “Not only did it give me the opportunity to become involved in issues that matter to me, in this case, food insecurity and the refugee population of the U.S., but it connected me with almost 130 other students from many colleges and universities across the country all passionate about fighting poverty.”
Ely said she feels extremely lucky to have this experience.
“After only the first week, I have learned so much from the incredible team at Common Earth Gardens, especially from my supervisor Rachel Brunner,” she continued. “I have renewed faith in the programs that exist to support the refugees in our country and enable them to continue traditions from their lives back home. It has been incredible to meet the urban farming communities of Louisville and the work they do to advocate positive change for the city.
By the end of the internship, Ely hopes to come away with experiences that can guide her future work, in whatever form that may be. She has already learned valuable lessons and knows this is only the beginning.
“I know that after Centre I want to do work that leaves a positive footprint on the world, and I want to work with people from all over the world,” she said. “Traveling and having experiences like the Shepherd internship have enabled me to understand that there is so much good happening all over the world and people truly believe in the mission of their work.
“I know that I want to work with the issues that have global consequences, and I have realized that often these issues are impacted by small organizations doing what they can to improve the lives of those around them,” Ely concluded. “If I do not end up working with an organization exactly like Common Earth Gardens, I know that I want to do work that has a similar relationship with the community and the world.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
June 24, 2019