The Jean Donovan Summer Fellowship is designed to encourage and support students who desire to deepen their understanding of social justice issues through a summer community-based learning experience.
Anne Murphy-Hagan – Portland, Oregon – Summer 2008
Driven by a passion for social justice and a desire to learn Spanish, Annie Murphy-Hagan spent her summer working for a non-profit medical healthcare clinic in Cornelius, OR. The clinic, known as Virginia García Memorial Health Center, services those below the federal poverty line especially seasonal farm laborers. While at the clinic, Annie immersed herself by working on many different clinic tasks. She sorted mailing, reviewed insurance billing errors, dispensed Primary Care surveys, read to children in the waiting room, and filed medical records. She also visited 9 migrant labor camps where she was involved with an Outreach Team that distributed medical supplies and provided treatment and health education. The highlight of Annie’s experience was meeting people: people with real concerns, real dreams, and a real compassion for one another. She hopes that this experience will help guide her future studies in her majors (Anthropology and Religious Studies) and minors (Spanish and International Relations with Latin America and the Caribbean) as well as benefit her Social Justice internship at SCU.
Noelle Lopez – Salinas, California – Summer 2008
For a month this past summer Stephanie Wilson and I worked with the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), living at their Triple M Ranch in Watsonville. We split our time between doing fieldwork at ALBA's Rural Development Center in Salinas, where aspiring organic farmers grow crops, and doing programmatic work from the Triple M for ALBA's Food Systems program aimed at fomenting a just and sustainable food system in local farm worker communities. Being a philosophy major, the month inspired much thought related to themes such as how we define and live out our ideals related to "work", "success", and especially "social justice". In the course of my time at ALBA I was also pleased to converse and spend time with fellow interns, ALBA staff, and farmers who came together to form a friendly, open, and cooperative environment where a passion for healthy agriculture, communities, and environment could flourish.
Francesca McKenzie –India – Summer 2008
Before coming here I had never considered myself a teacher but now I am officially a 5th grade English teacher and high school environmental studies teacher. Scary, right? Coming from a girl who never uses correct grammar and uses gesticulation for a majority of her communication it is quite comical trying to be a good English teacher. But it is thrilling when i can actually see the light bulb go off in a child's head, or when I get into discussion about world hunger and alleviating poverty with the high schoolers. I teach about 30 classes total Monday to Saturdasy; we wake up at 7am for breakfast and then have classes all day. There are snack breaks and tea times and assembly in the morning. The most inspiring people here are the teachers. The faculty used to be 22 but because of pay cuts and over work there are now 11 teachers doing the same amount of work. They are tireless and selfless and give so much love to the children without asking for any in return. I do not know how they some of these people have worked here for so long in the middle of nowhere, their answer is always that they could never leave the children. Shanti Bhavan is in the middle of rural country two hours away from Bangalore and it is the extreme opposite of what I had experienced in the city. A little background on the school is that it has been privately funded by The George Foundation. It has been running for 11 years and works only with kids from the untouchable caste in the area that would not have been given an opportunity for education. The foundation funds everything including tuition for children. The kids go through a rigorous application process at the age of 4 with psychologist screening, a social worker that goes monitors the family, and IQ tests. The past few years the foundation has suffered from an economic crisis and so the belt is being tightened around the school. It is evident that everything is in short supply here, they also started school four weeks late this year and they did not admit a new class because of funding. Dr. George is the founder of the school and the Principal is Mrs. Law. Dr. George would usually come and visit the school twice a year but because of the lack of teachers and the financial crisis he has been staying at the school, trying to find sponsors for the school in India while teaching economic classes. These two people are inspiring and remain optimistic about the financial crisis. They also make sure to keep the older children updated on everything they are doing in trying to keep the school running. During assemblies and lectures that Dr. George holds I can tell that he is a good man, and it is rare to find people as innovative and driven as him and Mrs. Law.
Sheeva Sabati - Honduras - Summer 2004
Sheeva ventured to Hogar Tierra Santa and La Villa de San Antonio in Honduras with limited Spanish but an open heart and mind. Here she worked with children of all ages. Her work included helping the 1-2 year olds get dressed in the morning and playing with them in the park, teaching sewing to the 13-15 year olds, running daily arts and crafts activities, and teaching an evening dance class to girls of various ages. One of those girls, 10 year old Sarai, touched Sheeva with her kindness, humor and maturity. A time of greatest joy occurred on the night of the last dance class, when she came to give Sheeva her goodnight hug. "As we held each other I felt her squeeze a little tighter, her petite frame much smaller than mine. I heard a few sniffles and I knew she was crying. I looked at her and smiled, tears welling up in my own eyes, and we just cried and hugged each other. I knew I had become part of these children's lives, just as they were a part of mine, and I knew that it would be hard to leave. I felt an immense amount of gratitude to be able to experience this love, not only with Sarai, but with everyone at the Hogar."
Paige Chant - Tubman House in Sacramento - Summer 2004
Paige returned this summer for the second time to Tubman House, a non-profit transitional living program for homeless, parenting young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 in Sacramento. She worked at Tubman House for 2 1/2 months and was able to use the Donovan grant funding as a stipend for this unpaid work close to home. Here at Tubman, the primary activities Paige was involved in were providing one-on-one mentoring to residents, facilitating childcare activities, planning and facilitating a resident spirituality group, and driving residents to and from classes and appointments. Paige was especially joyful when working with the children, especially a 2 year old boy she provided impromptu care for and played with on a temporarily-stored van seat in the living room. "We would sit on it for hours, buckling and unbuckling our seat belts and planning trips to the moon together. The time I spent with this little boy reminded me what the ministry of presence is about: each other."
Neil Ferron - Kolkata, India - Fall 2003
Sparked by an interest in global poverty, Indian culture, and the exploration of the self, Neil decided to journey to Kolkata (Calcutta), India and work with the Missionaries of Charity through Seattle University's Calcutta Club. Every morning Neil worked at Daya-Dan, an orphanage for mentally and physically handicapped children. He would help bathe and dress the 20 boys on the first floor, assist teaching them in the classroom, and engage in song and prayer with them before helping with lunch. Neil's afternoons were spent at the Gandhi Welfare Center, a school for children from homeless families, where he taught a class of 4 little girls the English alphabet and sang songs with them. In effort to share his life altering experience in Kolkata, Neil has used his artistic abilities and passion for writing to compose essays and stories. His hope is to "spread awareness about poverty and ways to share with those who suffer."
Jacob David - Sarajevo, Bosnia - Summer 2003
Moved by personal interests and his own ancestry, Jacob spent his summer in Sarajevo, Bosnia, formerly part of Yugoslavia. As a religious studies and pre-med major, a place like Sarajevo was very fitting. "Being able to do health-related work in an area rich with religious diversity and social instability is a fitting culmination to my academic work." Jacob worked in the Sarajevo Youth House, an extra-curricular educational program for children in the city. He was an after-school health educator that worked with pre-school aged children every morning, taught English classes to middle school students every evening, and spent Saturdays teaching at health workshops. Interacting with the local people of Sarajevo, Jacob was able to discover for himself the human faces in a war-torn society. "It knocked me off my high horse. It changed the way I look at politics and international relations." Jacob achieved his goal, he was moved by the experience in Sarajevo and his worldview was forever turned upside down.