Internship Diaries: Children’s Defense Fund Part 2

Today’s post is second in a series following University of Richmond students through their internships this summer. To read about Alyson Fraser’s application process and more information about her internship, check out Internship Diaries: Children’s Defense Fund Part 1

It has been a busy few weeks here at the Children’s Defense Fund! Most days we are busy planning events or conducting event follow up. That involves lots of phone calls, lots of research, and lots of emails! The two best events have been a leadership training conference in Tennessee and a one day symposium on closing the achievement gap.

We spent a lot of time planning for the Ella Baker Child Policy Training conference in Tennessee. One of the many programs that Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) runs is a summer charter school program called Freedom Schools. There are Freedom Schools across the country that focus on literacy and the teachers are college students, who attended the training conference in order to prepare for their summer of service! The track that I helped to prepare for the conference is a partner program for community members to organize around the Freedom Schools. The community members will now go back and help to push policy that will benefit the children and organize the community around CDF initiatives.

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After working for weeks on logistics, it was very rewarding to attend the actual conference.  I got to go through some of the leadership training activities, which were a nice complement to what I have been learning in the Jepson School curriculum! I learned and networked with the conference speakers and I got to learn a lot about the problem of gun violence and well as the high incarceration rates for young black men. It was all very interesting and gave me a lot to think about in terms of how I can continue to participate in the CDF social action campaign when I get back to Richmond.

The other event of note that I participated in was a one symposium addressing the achievement gap titled: “Black Male Teens: Moving to Success in the High School Years .“ I played the role of a greeter and got to meet a lot of interesting people, as well as listen to some of the speakers. I hope to work in the public school system one day so I definitely got a lot of good practical ideas to apply in the future. The other interns and I also planned and ran a roundtable discussion, during which we outlined action steps that people can take and implement in their communities.

So far, the coolest part of my internship is getting to participate in the behind the scenes work and planning of the events. One of the biggest things I wanted to gain from my internship experience was seeing the connection between my leadership studies work and the actual hands on experience. I have definitely gained a lot of insight in that area and look forward to seeing what I will be learning the rest of the summer! We have another training conference coming up next week back in Tennessee. At that event I will be helping to run one of the sessions for the participants so I’m really looking forward to that as well as my last few weeks here at the Children’s Defense Fund.

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