ArchCity Defenders in St. Louis, Missouri
ArchCity Defenders works to combat the “criminalization of poverty and state violence, especially in communities of color” through holistic legal advocacy. As an undergraduate intern in the civil litigation department, Grey had the opportunity to review and organize evidence for lawsuits, observe depositions, provide legal representation for incarcerated women, and several other impactful tasks. The most interesting aspect of Grey’s internship was the concept, “movement lawyering-the idea that lawyers should look to the communities they serve for leadership.” Grey left the internship with experience on how the law and holistic legal advocacy, “can be used to address issues of gender, racial, and economic inequities.”
Mariel Vander Schuur
Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates in Holland, MI
In her hometown of Holland, Michigan, Mariel Vander Schuur worked as a legal intern/legal specialist for Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates, a non-profit immigration organization that serves to “bring stability to West Michigan families and communities through legal services, advocacy, and education.” Mariel applied to this organization specifically, because of her personal connection to those who have been helped by LIA, and her passion for immigrant rights and justice as a first-generation American. Splitting her time between LIA’s main office and their New Americans Legal Clinic, she worked on many tasks at the main office including research, filing cases, and translating documents. She describes this experience, “There were many days that I would go to the clinic and sit in my car before my shift or in the bathroom during our breaks and just think about the enormity of what I was doing and the pressure that I felt that I was under. Working at the clinic was both the most challenging and most rewarding part of my time at LIA”
Birth Detroit in Detroit, MI
Amelia Joss interned at Birth Detroit, “a local nonprofit that aims to provide safe, quality, and loving midwifery-led care to the people of Detroit.” As a development intern, much of Amelia’s work was focused on raising funds for Birth Detroit’s new freestanding birth center opening in 2023. This position allowed Amelia to strengthen her skills in communication and writing, and provide her with a new specific skill set in grant writing. She shares her experience with the work environment, “I’ve really appreciated the variety of viewpoints and experiences held by the Birth Detroit team. It’s awesome to see a team of people with backgrounds in public health, business, clinical experience, and marketing all come together under one organization.” Due to the success of her internship, Amelia is extending her position into the fall.
New Beginnings Birth Advocacy and Doula Services in Ann Arbor, MI
Madeline Saft worked for New Beginnings Birth Advocacy and Doula Services, an organization that serves Southeastern Michigan, “prioritizing: survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, Afghanistan refugees, and low-income families.” The focus of Madeline’s work was to create birth plans for her clients. There was often a language barrier and a translator was used to ease communication. During her experience, she was able to work alongside a doula who is an Afghanistan refugee herself. Madeline describes this amazing opportunity, “I am currently in the process of helping her achieve her DONA doula certification so she can continue providing great work and care to her clients.” Madeline’s interest in non-profit organizations was strengthened and solidified this summer, and she is excited to continue her work with New Beginnings over the fall semester.
AmeriCorps Summer VISTA at Washtenaw Community Action Network, Arrowwood Hills Cooperative in Ann Arbor, MI
Thea Bultman “primarily taught nutrition lessons, but occasionally led mindfulness/social emotional learning (SEL) lessons, and helped out with other activities throughout the day.” for the AmeriCorps Summer VISTA at Washtenaw Community Action Network, Arrowwood Hills Cooperative. This summer camp program included rising first through fifth graders. She describes a typical day, “Kids have nutrition, mindfulness, art and design, as well as a daily discovery of either math, science, or language arts.” Thea taught many fun, impactful lessons such as making traditional recipes from indigenous communities and brainstorming ways to show gratitude towards the local community. This summer confirmed to Thea that social work is the path for her. She was so grateful to give back to Ann Arbor, while impacting the wonderful children and families with whom she worked.