Hadassah Stoltzfus interned with Empower Hope, an organization that is breaking the cycle of poverty & creating a new path of purpose by training indigenous leaders to empower vulnerable children.
“So you’re going to teach?” As every English major knows, a ready response to this question is a necessity. While teaching is a worthwhile and impactful profession, I could not see myself at the head of a classroom, but my internship this past summer with Empower Hope was an encouragement that I have other options to use my English degree.
I first saw the posting for a “Content/Creative Writer Intern” on ELCM’s website. I was unfamiliar with Empower Hope, so I read extensively on their website, growing increasingly excited about the work they were doing in Kenya. With sustainability in mind, the organization, though still in the infancy stages, had designed a mentorship model to equip local leaders to train and educate the next generation.
Poverty tends to be cyclical. Those that are born into families living on one to two dollars per day rarely find the tools to start a new life, and so the pattern of barely subsisting continues. In response, Empower Hope provides education and business training using local leaders to implement the projects so that communities can be transformed from the inside out. Where foreign aid has failed to remedy the problem of poverty, Empower Hope sees an opportunity to fix the root of the issue, and it starts with seeing individuals for their inherent worth. Empower Hope calls it “giving a face to the invisible.”
During my internship, I wrote a variety of content, most of which was marketing related, such as radio ads, presentations, promo scripts, and letters requesting sponsorship. I got a window into the workings of a not-yet-established non-profit which had its challenges, namely a lack of structure. However, the longer I worked with Empower Hope, the more I understood their goals and how they spoke, which helped me to complete writing projects with limited supervision.
An upside of working in a short-staffed office was the chance to do meaningful work. The staff treated me as an expert in my field and took my opinion seriously despite my being only an intern, an experience that would probably have been different had I been at an established, fully-staffed organization.
Empower Hope excels in recognizing individuals’ strengths and putting them to use. A highlight was creating illustrations for a kids’ booklet on poverty that they were creating to hand out at events. Despite being hired to write, I got to change hats for a week to work in the artistic realm.
Overall, the experience was a good window into the daily life of non-profit work. My internship presented me with alternative avenues to use English, and it was exciting to know that I was indirectly contributing to the work of bringing hope to people in poverty.