Current Social Justice Interns
Learn more about some of our current Social Justice Interns, their work, and what they're learning from the experience.
Name: Juan Barriga
Minor: Women's Studies and Gender Studies
Internship Role: Misericordia Developmental Training Program Intern
As an intern who is part of the Developmental Training Program at Misericordia, I help teach residents (who have many levels of cognitive and physical abilities) skills that are needed in everyday life. I help residents develop and improve on their math skills, computer skills, writing skills, and social skills, so they can apply those skills at a work setting or at any other social setting. Most of my volunteer work takes place at Misericordia’s bakery, art studio, computer room, and writing room, just to name a few. After working for many months, I learned much more about myself. While I was able to help teach residents certain skills, I was able to learn and improve on certain skills as well. I learned to be much more caring of other people’s needs, and I have become much more patient and empathic. Most importantly, I have made many close friendships with the residents at Misericordia. I learned that Misericordia is not an institution; it’s a home, and everyone is welcome and part of the Misericordia family!
Name: Flavio Bravo
Major: Philosophy and Political Science
Internship Role: Catholic Charities Immigration and Naturalization Intern
As an intern within the Immigrant Survivors Project at Catholic Charities of Chicago, I work with undocumented immigrants who are victims of violent crimes. I help provide effective services to clients to allow them to gain legal immigration status in the United States and help them stabilize their lives. So far, as the youngest intern in the office, I have been able to further develop my interest in humane comprehensive immigration reform as a social justice issue while also learning to understand the significance of each immigrant’s unique story.
Name: Alyssa Chandler
Major: Social Work
Minor: Business Administration
Internship Role: Catholic Charities GED Coordinator and Tutor
Madonna House has given me the experience of coordinating my own GED Program and tutoring families who are experiencing homelessness. I always make sure to remember what is going in their life from job interviews to exams. They really appreciate people taking the time to see how things are going. I really love my coworkers, the sense of community, and all of the children I get to work with. Along the way I have made many lasting relationships and have found my passion for helping others. This experience has helped strengthen my knowledge of what social work is and why I want to be a social worker. I really appreciate this learning experience and I hope others apply to this program.
Name: Arjun Grewal
Major: Biology and Philosophy
Internship Role: Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Medical Case Management Intern
As Social Justice Intern, I help refugees from Catholic Charities transition to their lives in the United States by accompanying them to medical appointments and familiarizing them with health-care protocols. My duties include translating for Hindi- and Punjabi-speaking refugees, finding them transportation, assisting them with paperwork, and determining health-care facilities accessible via Medicaid, as well as answering any questions they have about health care, Chicago, and cultural acclimation. My goal is to help refugees become medically self-sufficient so they can flourish in their new home.
Name: Ellen Hamel
Minor: Asian Studies
Internship Role: Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Intern
I work with the refugee women's craft group, facilitating its transition to Loom, a social enterprise whose profits go directly to the women of the group. My relationships with the women are teaching me that resettlement is complex and refugees themselves are incredibly dynamic.
Name: Justin Hoch
Minor: Business Administration, Catholic Studies, and Pastoral Leadership
Internship Role: Catholic Charities Volunteer Relations Intern
Interning with the Volunteer Relations department at Catholic Charities gives me a good opportunity to mix service and nonprofit administration together. In the office, I help manage volunteer applications and plan upcoming service opportunities. This experience allows me to gain great insight into the workings of a large nonprofit business. I also have the opportunity to organize and serve at the Tuesday Night Supper, where I am able to experience firsthand social justice issues like homelessness and hunger. Seeing the diversity and scope of the clients that Catholic Charities serves forces me to think about my method of ministering and how I can be a presence or voice for them. My experience at Catholic Charities will hopefully give me a good background in nonprofit administration as well as a better understanding of the social justice problems in Chicago.
Name: Jessica Kaminski
Minor: Criminal Justice and Political Science
Internship Role: Misericordia Personal Effectiveness Program (PEP) Intern
Working in PEP this year has been an amazing experience. About 15 Misericordia residents are in this program, all of whom I have formed great friendships with thus far. In PEP, we help residents with their behavioral challenges through many different therapies, learning exercises, and friendly, helpful interactions. This internship has opened up my eyes about how passionate I am about working for social justice for those with intellectual disabilities. I really hope that every individual in our society can be fully aware of all the abilities in disabilities. Working at Misericordia has given me faith about my community, because I think through awareness and education, our society can really change and be socially just one day.
Name: Fatime Rexhepi
Major: Elementary Education
Minor: Reading and English as a Second Language
Internship Role: Misericordia Developmental Training Program Intern
At Misericorida, I work in the Developmental Training Department, where residents with developmental disabilities engage in a variety of stimulating, learning, and leisure activities in different classrooms. Through this engagement with different residents, I have been able to make many connections and form close relationships. Misericordia is such a unique and special place. I have seen more compassion among the staff and residents here than I have anywhere else. Everyone is so genuine and Misericordia is truly a community of believers. This opportunity has opened the doors for me to learn more about social justice issues and everyday I am learning new ways of how to overcome these issues that are present in society.
Name: Alexandra ("Alex") Schorr
Internship Role: Misericordia Ministry Intern
As an intern in the Ministry Department I have been blessed with the opportunity to lead a women’s small group at one of the homes. Each week I prepare a group session where we are able talk about our lives, look into Scripture, and pray for one another. Other times I end up on campus for various social/ministry events. Through this internship thus far, I’ve affirmed my desire to work with those that tend to be stigmatized or separated by society. After witnessing the interactions and conversations of residents at Misericordia I’ve noticed the special perspective they have on life. I often find myself learning new things from these residents and being inspired by how they help and care for one another. I look forward to getting involved with Misericordia even more as the year progresses.