Students for a Better World: The Beyond the Classroom Blog

Stories, Resources, & More from the Beyond the Classroom (BTC) Program at University of Maryland

A Semester of Discovery at Bread for the World

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Hermela Capitol

The author, at left, pictured in front of the Capitol with other Bread for the World interns at a lobby day on Capitol Hill.

By Hermela Hailemeskel, BTC Student

“One in 6 people struggle with hunger, 5 in 6 can help.”

This semester, I was able to follow my passion to help end hunger. I had the opportunity to intern in the Church Relations Department of Bread for the World, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to urge decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad through advocacy. I initially learned about Bread for the World last semester in the Beyond the Classroom UNIV325 Seminar class. At the completion of the class, we had to present a research project on a social justice issue that we care about. Having always been passionate about ending hunger and poverty, I chose to research more about the preventing factors of this injustice including the organizations that were actively making a difference. During my research, I found Bread for the World to have one of the most unique and effective missions to ending hunger that I decided to seek an internship with them. I was happy to find an internship opening at Bread on Idealist.org, and even more thrilled when I found out that I had been selected for the internship.

Hermela 2

The author (left) with Marta Gabre Tsadick, founder of Project Mercy, at the National Hunger Free Communities Summit. Project Mercy is a nonprofit organization based in the author’s birth country, Ethiopia.

I am currently 3 months into my internship, I am beyond amazed at how much I have learned and gained out of this experience. Right from the first day of my internship, I was assigned a project to coordinate the weekly ‘Bread for the Preacher’ newsletters that were published and sent out to the partner churches. I remember I was so excited to take leadership in this project and to be trusted to work under minimum supervision. I also had an opportunity to work at the Hunger Free Communities Summit, a conference with key related nonprofits and leaders who are collaborating and sharing ideas on ways to end hunger. I still cannot believe I was amongst America’s leading organizations that were actively making a difference in this issue. I had an opportunity to hear Joel Berg, the author of All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America? speak, as well as organizations like Feeding America, DC Soup Kitchen and Share Our Strength. In addition, I had various responsibilities as the Church relations Intern, ranging from researching ways to reach out to young adults to managing database of possible and current members. I also had an opportunity to deliver letters to Congressmen. Who knew you could walk right into the Senate or House and talk to Congressmen. Additionally towards the end of my internship, a few of the interns and I went to Capitol Hill where we learned about our nation’s history as well as see the new Rosa Parks statue.
as see the new Rosa Parks statue.

I learned and experienced so much through my internship at Bread. Some of which are improving my oral and written communication skills, gaining Raiser’s Edge database management skills, and being able to effectively work under minimum supervision while prioritizing and multitasking between different projects. One of the biggest lessons I learned is that networking is key to success, and building relationships and creating collaborations with related organizations is essential. In addition, I gained extensive knowledge on hunger specific issues, policies, and effective advocacy strategies. Overall, it has been an amazing experience interning at Bread.  It not only gave me the opportunity to be exposed to the organization’s advocacy tactics but also provided me with the opportunity to interact with related organizations and key leaders. I am extremely grateful for Beyond the Classroom Program for encouraging and Hunger Freeempowering me to research more about my passion to end hunger and to seek out opportunities to gain field experience.

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Edited by Dr. Caitlin Haugen, Adjunct Instructor, Beyond the Classroom

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Author: btcblogger

Beyond the Classroom (BTC) engages talented and diverse upper level undergraduates from across the university in a selective interdisciplinary living and learning community focused on civic engagement and social change in a global context. The BTC program prepares students to be active and responsible citizens and leaders in a complex, multi-cultural, and global society. We encourage students from all disciplines and majors to realize and develop their potential through an integrated program of academic, experiential, and service components. The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, the world’s largest nonprofit and nongovernmental sector, becomes a place of learning through exciting internships and civic learning experiences.

One thought on “A Semester of Discovery at Bread for the World

  1. Pingback: “Don’t let it just be a passion!” – BTC Class of 2014: Hermela Hailemeskel | Students for a Better World: The Beyond the Classroom Blog

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