This summer City Mission hosted five high school Social Justice Interns (SJIs) from the Greater Boston area. During their six week program Larissa, Gage, Kylanda, Emily, and David participated in activities that engaged, educated, and empowered them for social justice advocacy. Dividing their time between group learning, individual passion projects, and supporting the work of City Mission, the SJIs had an opportunity to learn more about various aspects of social justice advocacy.
Highlights of group learning time included: A visit to Barbara McInnis Healthcare for the Homeless, a workshop with Communications Specialist Rani Wise at The Wing Co-working Center, a storytelling workshop with Dr. Lani Peterson, a workshop with Activist-Artist Evan Greer, and opportunities to attend Housing Court, Probate Court, and a hearing on a Bill to Keep Kids Out of Deep Poverty with City Mission Case Managers.
The Social Justice Internship program culminated with the presentation of a group Dream House Proposal and presentations of individual projects. Together the interns imagined how a social service agency, such as City Mission, might best utilize an empty two-story building behind the office. The group designed and presented a proposal that detailed services, building design, staffing needs, and necessary considerations of the Dream Building. Noting what services were lacking in the area, they imagined a space that would provide substance use disorder services, classes on financial literacy, nutrition and cooking on a budget, and ESL, childcare services, and online classes to prevent possible barriers and time restrictions faced by many families. Sharing a comprehensive proposal, the team also detailed possible funding sources and community partners who would help make the building a success.
While at City Mission this summer, each intern also spent time working on an individual project that involved a topic about which they were passionate. Gage led an interactive discussion on the effects of gentrification. Larissa developed a plan for an agency that would provide life-long mental health services to immigrants, refugees, and asylees. Emily created a website to share information about immigration justice, ICE raids, and immigrant rights. David’s project focused on the intersection of jazz music and social change. Kylanda compiled information and resources for those impacted by domestic violence. Each intern researched and engaged their topic thoroughly and provided a wealth of information during their presentations. Arriving at City Mission as leaders, each intern grew further into their strengths as thoughtful, engaged visionaries and advocates.