By Sarah Schmitt, Climate Change and Administrative Intern
A year after graduating college I came to CFJC looking for something completely new. I had recently moved to Berkeley and was making a living for myself with two part-time jobs, but I was compelled to explore more opportunities. I started looking for an internship that would allow me to gain professional experience while acquiring knowledge about topics I was interested in. My previous experiences had instilled in me an aspiration to learn more about climate change and urban agriculture, and how to affect change. Through a series of internet searches I was led to CFJC.
CFJC’s work is expansive, covering many focus areas locally, state-wide, and nationally. CFJC showed me how the issues that we face today, in all work areas—such as climate change, public health, immigration, and the sustainability of our current food system—are connected. As the internship progressed my interests sprawled and I wanted to take in as much as I could.
The CFJC work environment is transparent, inclusive, and staff ensures that interns feel welcomed and appreciated. CFJC staff encouraged me to volunteer for the program work that appealed to me. Quickly after starting my internship, my role and my responsibilities began to take shape and grow.
I participated in outreach to partner organizations including partner mapping for climate change work and Covered California sign-up events, was involved in the Public Health Institute’s climate change project, contributed to CFJC’s website, newsletter, and social media platforms, and performed daily administrative duties. Additionally, the CFJC internship allowed me to grow closer to the community I recently moved to and knew little about. I became an active participant of the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, attended a Berkeley Food Policy Council meeting, and was involved in Berkeley campaign building for a couple of different initiatives.
The CFJC internship is unique in that it provides interns with a number of diverse opportunities to do great work and develop skills to advance social change. For the duration of my internship I felt a part of an inimitable organization working authentically to connect with communities and help those most affected by systemic inequalities. I gained many valuable professional and personal skills, and CFJC staff was supportive of me every step of the way.