As a new intern with Cultivate, I have been on a steep learning curve over the course of the past month. I am currently in the process of finishing my undergraduate degree in International Community Development and I have found this base of knowledge to be beneficial and relevant when interacting with the world of non-profit organizations. I chose to study community development because I have been deeply impacted by the poverty and injustices that I have seen manifested in communities during my travels. I have worked in homeless shelters and been involved with humanitarian organizations that are attempting to solve the problems of communities without consulting local leaders and clearing identifying the underlying causes of the problems at hand. As a result, I have a passion for finding innovative and sustainable solutions within communities and I believe that empowering local leaders is the first step in this process because they have the knowledge of their specific cultural context and community which is necessary to initiate change.
Working with Cultivate is a stepping stone in my long-term plans and journey as I have been exploring what path I would like to take after graduating this year. I have decided to pursue my dream of attending law school in order to work towards empowering people with the dignity and basic human rights that they are entitled to. In my time with Cultivate thus far, I find myself slowly gaining a deeper understanding of the heart and purpose behind Cultivate and how that translates into tangible realities.
The main reason that I chose to intern with Cultivate was that I believe in the work we are doing and the great potential that this organization has to have a substantial impact in communities spanning the globe. Coming from my understanding of community development, I love the focus on long-term sustainability and impact which is the foundation of why Cultivate exists. The trainees that we work with are community leaders who have both the potential and the innovative solutions needed to address the poverty and injustices they see around them. Our role is to empower them with tools in leadership, project management, and fundraising so that they are able to launch projects which initiate change and break the cycle of dependency in their communities.
The focus on the dignity and empowerment of both individuals and communities is the heartbeat of Cultivate. Another key aspect that I love about this organization is the intentional choice and commitment to seeing hope, beauty, and dignity in people and situations which are often viewed with despair and in a negative light by the rest of the world. This gives us a powerful platform as we work alongside of our trainees to have a long-term impact in communities around the world.
-Emma Klenk, Former Intern