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Citizen Film Internship Program

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Citizen Film is a non-profit organization in San Francisco, California that produces documentaries.  Check out the Citizen Film Home page for more information on the organization. Citizen Film Mission: “Citizen Film Inc. is a not-for-profit production company dedicated to crafting documentary stories with care and dignity. We collaborate with cultural institutions and community organizations to […]

Citizen Film Internship Program

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Citizen Film is a non-profit organization in San Francisco, California that produces documentaries.  Check out the Citizen Film Home page for more information on the organization. Citizen Film Mission: “Citizen Film Inc. is a not-for-profit production company dedicated to crafting documentary stories with care and dignity. We collaborate with cultural institutions and community organizations to […]

Mentorship Works: Answering the Big Questions about the Liberal Arts through Mentorship

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
What is my education worth?  How will I take it with me when I leave? Why did I come here? What is this all for? Come hear from Middlebury alum, Dan Murphy ‘11, Youth Programs & Outreach Associate in Community Engagement, about ways that you can translate mentorship as a meaning-making tool for the liberal arts. […]

Apply to be a MiddView Trip Leader

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
The MiddView program is seeking Middlebury students who are involved in student organizations on campus, so they can share with first year students their own experience of getting involved.  Ideally, they can place student organization leaders on trips that could potentially connect with the mission and objective of their student organization, so leaders can make […]

Become a Repair the World Fellow!

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Repair the World is on a quest to find courageous, compassionate go-getters who are eager to commit to a year of service in their community, developing partnerships with local organizations doing great work and rallying local volunteers to do even more. Repair the World Fellows will focus on a range of issues, including education, poverty, […]

Explore Social Change in Israel

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Yahel Social Change Program is a unique 9-month service learning experience for young adults between the ages of 21 and 27. The program, located inn Gedera, Israel, combines hands-on volunteer work with in-depth learning and immersion. Yahel participants explore Israel by living, learning and volunteering alongside their peers from the local Ethiopian Israeli community. Yahel […]

In Their Own Words: Marcella Houghton ’12.5

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

“In Their Own Words” is an ongoing series featuring the experiences of Middlebury students at their summer internships. This summer Marcella Houghton ’12.5 interned with the State College Area Food Bank in State College, PA.

What did you do?

Twice a week I assisted Bill Zimmer, the home gardener growing crops for the State College Food Bank, and worked at the Food Bank on alternating days. In addition to harvesting and maintaining the crops he was already growing, I assumed responsibility for planting and harvesting a bed of green beans. When the State College community garden got in touch with Bill with an interest in donating to the SCFB, I contacted and met with the garden intern to set up a system for community gardeners to donate their extra harvest. By the middle of the summer the garden had a cooler set up behind a shade cloth, where gardeners could donate and where I would pick up donations weekly.

At the food bank, I served as an all-purpose volunteer. Every distribution day I joined the morning crew with set-up, shelving, and receiving and sorting donations. I joined the new set of volunteers that came in on afternoons, and helped distribute food to clients. I drove the food bank van on errands and on donation pick-up runs. I also set up a recycling system for torn, dirty, or otherwise un-re-usable plastic bags. After broaching the idea with volunteers and the directors, I found and labeled a bin for the bags. Curbside recycling doesn’t include plastic bags in State College, but since the food bank regularly visits grocery stores, whoever’s driving the van can deliver the bags to the recycling receptacles outside of each store.

What did you learn?

Working at the food bank corrected some assumptions I had unknowingly harbored. I’d previously thought food banks relied almost exclusively on individual donations or food drives. But the SCFB receives the bulk of its items from federal and state programs, the South Central Food Bank in a nearby city, tax-deductible donations from grocery stores, and purchases of new groceries on the food bank budget. I was surprised to learn that clients of the SCFB are eligible for groceries only 8 times per year. No chance of surviving off Food Bank groceries alone, contrary to my previous notions.

What are your plans for the future?

My perception of food assistance programs shifted after this experience, hopefully giving me a better sense for how they operate. Working for the food bank widened my eyes to the complexity of social service programs like the SCFB. I also observed among volunteers and people I spoke with a concern that clients might be able to “cheat the system” and get more food than allotted. I’m inclined to think of this anxiety as a misunderstanding; however, whether people “cheat” often or not I believe that programs should strive to treat clients with compassion rather than suspicion, and I realized just how important it is to cultivate that attitude among volunteers in a program like this one.

This summer I discovered an interest in managing volunteers, when I realized I was often in the position of delegating tasks to new recruits. Volunteering every other day gave me a crash course in many of the daily tasks, and it was rewarding to connect a task-less volunteer with a task and attempt to streamline the day’s to-do list. I found it refreshing to interact with many small teams on a regular schedule (the Monday morning crew, the Monday afternoon crew, etc.) and get to know the rhythms of each group of core volunteers. I could see myself in the position of a volunteer organizer in a similar program.

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