Looking back over this semester, I feel accomplished. I’ve grown in many ways in terms of my character and my intent for my community. Through this internship I’ve gained a better understanding of the mission statement of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and some of its partnered institutions such as People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB). Briefly, I’d like to discuss some of my thoughts and experiences.
Initially, walking into the office space was a lot different than I expected it to be. It was more of a culture shock than I could have ever thought it would have been. The other interns I’ve had the opportunity of working with have really made this experience much more enjoyable because they are so unique in what they bring the table. Ultimately, their willingness to share themselves with me helped me to truly bring myself in wholeness out into the community for our youth events; youth events that promote peace and nonviolence awareness.
Through several different trainings I think I’ve acquired a definition of what the terms nonviolence, cultural organizing, undoing racism, and community mean. Nonviolence, in my opinion, is remaining reasonable in even the most hostile situations. The ability to talk and think something through shows maturity. Secondly, cultural organizing, to me, is the way in which we engage and bring the community together using art techniques established by the culture of a specific or even a broader locality. Thirdly, undoing racism is the way in which we go about creating equal social and economic statuses. Finally, I’d describe a community as a group of people who are interdependent on one another.
In terms of AFSC, this internship has helped me on a more personal level in reference to a community issue that I have invested interest in. Being civically involved has put me in a position to analyze my community thoroughly and seek issues that need immediate attention. My community issue of choice is leadership. As I go out into the community as an AFSC intern disseminating important information about the principles of nonviolence, I witness some of the youth listen but at the same time I witness some youth that rebel and reject the information. Now, it didn’t disturb me at first because, naturally, not every person you speak to is going to be genuinely interested in what you’re saying. But it touched me once it appeared that the youth who were disrespectful and not really listening to me and my fellow interns had more of an influence on the other youth. So I realized that the community doesn’t lack leadership, it lacks positive leadership. If we could reach those youth who have the greatest influence on the community we could make a much greater impact on the community as a whole.
Check out my power point presentation detailing my intern experience: