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Burned Alive in Bulgaria

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

It is difficult for me to follow what is going on in Bulgaria while I’m in the States. Or when I travel. In general. It is difficult to know what is truly happening even if you are there, in the midst of it all. 

I remember feeling out of place, trying to accommodate to my old life after my first visit to the States after a 1-month long youth program in North Carolina. When I first got on a public bus just the next day after I had returned, I got surprised to see how angry people were with one another; how meaningless things could trigger a massive negative reaction and how this energy was to be found almost everywhere, contagiously spreading from one person to the next.

I often get angry with my mom when she becomes over-cautious, counting every cent (stotinka in Bulgarian), always looking for the cheapest products available (concerns with quality of food are alien for most of Bulgarians, the lower the price, the better!). I hate it, but I get it. The financial shortage and its offspring- the extreme frugality encapture all of your attention and turn you into a beast whose only matter in life is securing that his very basic needs are met. I get it, because it is crucial. Of course, you need food. And your kids need you. You need to be alive to be humane, right?

But there is more to that story. Poverty in Bulgaria is not only about the low standart of life. It is about the persistent lack of perspective; the inadequacy experienced by both old and young as to what should be done.

We are all set on fire. Comforming to ease the pain, or crying out loud for a change, we are all burning in a steady rate.


Apply: Paid Addison County Poverty Internships

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Addison County Poverty Internships offer meaningful opportunities to spend summer fighting poverty in Vermont. This year the paid internships will take place at the John Graham Homeless Shelter, the Addison County Council Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and the Open Door Clinic.

John Graham Homeless Shelter: The John W. Graham Emergency Shelter has provided food, shelter and hope to homeless individuals and families for thirty-one years. The Shelter offers its services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to individuals and families with children. Many are the hardest to house including survivors of abuse, violence and rape; people with disabilities; people in recovery; and people suffering with mental illness. The John Graham Shelter summer intern will be a key team player in providing food, shelter and hope to Addison County’s homeless population, with a special emphasis on helping the Shelter to manage its community mentor program.

Addison County Council Against Domestic and Sexual Violence: ACCADSV is a collaborative group of Addison County agencies that work together to prevent domestic and sexual violence through education and closing gaps amongst providers. Our mission is to promote and enhance the safety and well-being of all members of the Addison County Community. The intern will work with community agencies by serving on the Education Committee that plans programs and events to educate community members about issues of domestic and sexual violence. The intern will also have the opportunity to take WomenSafe training and participate in DV Solutions community programs.

Open Door Clinic: Open Door Clinic (ODC) is a free medical clinic based in Middlebury, VT, providing healthcare to low income, uninsured and underinsured Addison County adults. This full-time, 10 week internship experience will provide the intern with a unique perspective on healthcare, public health, and provision of services to marginalized and low-income communities. A particular focus of the internship will be on supporting the healthcare needs of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients, especially Addison County’s Latino Farmworker population, through medical interpretation, document translation, and building culturally and linguistically appropriate local healthcare infrastructure.

How do I apply?
Find our more information and apply through MOJO! Log in here, search for “Addison County Poverty Internships,” and follow the instructions to submit a cover letter, resume, and unofficial transcript (can be unofficial). Applications are due on March 11, 2013. Interviews will be held in mid-March and successful applicants will be notified before spring break.

What if I have questions?
Attend the information session:
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.
Center for Education in Action (EIA) Library in Adirondack House
OR Contact Ashley Calkins, jcalkins@middlebury.edu.

Benefits
Interns will earn $9.20 per hour, 35 hours per week. Students can choose to reside on campus for $100 per week, meal plan included.

Additional Poverty Internship Opportunity on MOJO (with funding opportunities available!)
Middlebury Community Care Coalition, Inc. (MCCC) – Farm-to-Plate Intern: MCCC is a volunteer, non-profit providing basic food and housing for local residents who need assistance. Community Lunch and Community Supper together provide over 18,000 meals each year, and with the participation of the Nash farm, as well as church, student and community organizations. The intern will gain firsthand experience in how food, housing and other poverty challenges of low-income families in Addison County are being supported, will learn operational and management aspects of a volunteer-based non-profit organization, and will gain experience in supporting the needs of members of our community who are housing or food insecure.

In Their Own Words: Katie Pett ’13.5

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

“In Their Own Words” is an ongoing series featuring the experiences of Middlebury students at their summer internships. This summer Katie Pett ’13.5  interned with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA in Kampala and Gulu, Uganda.

Katie and Students at Mulago Child Project in Kampala, Uganda

What did you do?

Through “New England Global Issues Internship 2012 – Uganda, East Africa” I had five weeks of witnessing, engaging, discussing, and processing a variety of global issues within Uganda, leaving me with a wealth of personal connections, eye-opening experiences, and long-term life lessons. The New England Global Issues Internship – Uganda, East Africa is an initiative by the New England region of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA to engage college and university students in global issues (such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, reintegration of children affected by war, etc.) through first-hand experience with  those issues.

The internship also took us to two distinct regions within Uganda. We began in the urban center of Kampala and then traveled to the rural north in Gulu. They each presented distinct global issues and cultural experiences. While in Kampala, we experienced urban poverty and the center of Ugandan economics and politics. We worked through FOCUS’ headquarters in Kampala to visit secondary schools and give lessons, lead discussion groups in the community, built a security fence,  visited the sick at Mulago Hospital, as well as went door-to-door in the Kampala slums to meet the people living there.  In Gulu, however, we worked through Sport’s Outreach – Gulu. While making door-to-door visits, running a medical clinic, and visiting the Gulu prisons, we saw the effects of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as well as the problems rural poverty presents. The exposure to these two regions provided a more detailed perspective of the country and the variety of cultures and issues facing it.

What did you learn?

            I learned a tremendous amount during this internship. I not only gained exposure to global issues, but this internship also provided numerous opportunities to discuss and learn more about those issues in a larger context. This gave me a much deeper understanding of global issues in a manner simply not possible in the United States alone. I also gained invaluable cross-cultural experience within my team as well as in our various projects throughout the community.

What are your plans for the future?

            As an African Studies minor, this internship gave me first-hand experience within the continent. It also provided native perspective on some historical leaders I had studied (ie. Idi Amin). This trip has confirmed and deepened my desire to work internationally in a faith-based organization. There are still many, many possibilities for that type of work, but it has given me connections within the field and a broader awareness of what opportunities are available.

Think this experience sounded pretty cool? Check out opportunities like this and more on MOJO.

Join us for a student panel on poverty studies internships

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Thursday, Oct. 18th 7:00 p.m. Axinn Rm. 219
This summer seven Middlebury students helped tackle issues of poverty through paid internships in Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, and, locally, in Addison County (VT). Come hear about their experiences working with immigrant services, emergency housing, farm to table and gleaning initiatives, social services for women and children, and environmental education in coal country. For students interested in poverty studies at Middlebury, Tiffany Sargent (EIA) and Professor James Davis (Religion) will be on hand to share information about these annual internship opportunities, as well as about Middlebury’s exploration of a Privilege and Poverty program as part of the Shepherd High Education Consortium on Poverty. Sponsored by EIA Civic Engagement.

Courtney Devoid with some leeks and lettuce at Nash Farm.

Just Food Conference 2012, NYC!

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Four Middlebury College Students, Katie Willis ’12, Kate Strangfeld ’12, Emma Burke ’12, and Lauren Honican ’15, took advantage of a Civic Engagement Mini-Grant to fund their trip to the Just Food Conference in New York City, where they spent two days attending workshops, learning about food issues and achievements, and meeting other like-minded people, all over good food and conversation!  They plan to keep what they learned in mind in their work with food-related initiatives on campus, as well as share ideas and information with others.  For example, check out Kate’s blog post about the event here

Some of the students will be volunteering to prepare apples for freezer kits to donate to the Addison County Food Shelf, today Friday 3/2, from 3-5 pm at Weybridge House.  Come to give back to the community, and learn more about the Conference!

For more ways to get your service projects funded, or to learn more about Civic Engagement in the EIA, click here.

Volunteer Opportunity with HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects)

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Shepherd Summer Poverty Internship Deadline: THIS Sun., Jan. 15th!

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Attn. Midd students seeking action to make a difference in the fight against poverty, while also developing important life skills, gaining experience working across difference, and aiding your career exploration: Shepherd Poverty Alliance.

Application Deadline: this Sunday, January 15th. Upload additional application materials through MOJO.

Paid internships are available in the following fields of service:

Missed the Info Sessions? Not too late to learn more (view PP). Questions? Email Tiffany Sargent at tiffanys@middlebury.edu .