Water is Everywhere by Morgan Olson: Internship Farewell

Water is everywhere. Above the Earth in the form of both air and clouds. On the surface of Earth in the forms of rivers, oceans, and ice. Inside the Earth just right under the surface.  Could this be why it is the most basic, yet taken for granted, human need? Because it’s everywhere. With nearly 71% of the Earth’s surface being water, and for a person who has water at their daily disposal it can be hard to understand how water could be unavailable, or that people could be going without.  I mean if you think about it, people in the United States even associate water with recreational activities and even vacation, some people might even take its far to say that being in or near the water is their “happy place”. Now let’s think about a few things.  How many times a day do you think the average person […]


Coffee and Clarity

I began the application process for the CAPS fellowship by working on a personal statement which took me days – even weeks – to complete. Coming to Valparaiso University, I had struggled trying to simply decide what I wanted to study. Now I found myself sitting in front of a blank page on my computer screen struggling to discuss what my interests were or what possible career endeavors I hoped for in the near future. The only thing I have been certain of since childhood is my desire to help others. Throughout my life, numerous things such as hobbies, sports, and extracurriculars have pulled my attention in various directions. However, the one thing that threaded everything together was my desire to help people. It was not until nearing the end of my internship experience and having an intellectual conversation with a mutual friend of mine that I discerned what it […]


“And What’s Next?” by Sophia Behrens 

During my time in DC I have found a favorite pizza place, as one always should when living in a new place. Situated perfectly on the route to the Lincoln memorial, &Pizza is the ideal pick-me-up after a long day of sightseeing and easily found when wanting to meet a new friend for dinner. It’s also a chipotle-style pizza place, meaning that you’re able to customize your pizza from the sauce to the drizzle on top and an excellent size for dinner plus leftovers. I’ve found myself going often when with others and it was the first place I ate when moving in for the summer. Like &Pizza, my time as a CAPS fellow has been very customizable both in and out of the workspace. I have been able to choose whether to live at home or move to a big city, to work with child welfare or senior services, […]


Always Expect the Unexpected by Miranda Engholm

Traveling to a new city is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out where to go, planning itineraries, and observing the distinct culture of the new place. So, needless to say, I was elated to get the chance to stay in Austin, Texas for three weeks as part of my internship with Water to Thrive. Before arriving, I spent time researching and learning about what Austin was like and all of the activities to-do. I have learned when traveling that it is better not to hold tight to expectations, and to come into a new place with as open a mind as possible. Of course, it is impossible to have no preconceived ideas of what a new place will be like, but it has helped me to truly enjoy a new place. Keeping an open mind while traveling has also translated into starting […]


Producing Fruitful Fellowship at St. Phillips by Elizabeth Nevarez

My time at LINC Ministries is quickly dwindling; I am feeling very downhearted towards this memorable chapter in my life ending. I have felt incredibly humbled to be both a CAPS Fellow and an intern for my dream nonprofit. This month I have started a project that has differentiated from the rest of my internship tasks. I have had the privilege of kickstarting a LINC Ministries project called Root to Rise. Saint Philip is a Lutheran church nestled in between the neighborhoods of Logan Square and Rogers Park of Chicago. This region is overflowing with diversity; many of the residents are from different countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. The church has an abandoned Early Childhood Center which has been closed for three years now. At one point, learning was cultivated inside these walls for young children through the hands of passionate teachers, however, it is now […]


Sí se Puede: The Power of Protest by Joy Kassel

Where I come from, the summer months are two things: hot and humid. However, as I stepped outside one July afternoon in Hyde Park, I was surprised to feel neither of these sensations my body has become accustomed to in the Missouri summers. Instead, I felt cold and could feel rain starting to drizzle as me and fellow intern Bianca boarded the 15 bus to the Garfield green line station. We were headed to a protest and rally in downtown Chicago, hosted by ICIRR, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. While Bianca seemed rather unphased as we entered the throngs of people that surrounded the Thompson Center on Randolph street once we arrived, I was utterly amazed. I have been to one protest before back in St. Louis, the Women’s March (that also took place all around the country) in January of 2017. At the time, I was […]


Working From Home and Living at Work

My first two months here at the Grünewald Guild have flown by. As the hospitality intern for summer programming, I have been busy getting the campus ready for guests and creating a welcoming and comfortable environment during their stay. I order supplies, assign weekly responsibilities to staff, and oversee the turnover of guest housing each weekend. Since programming is at half capacity for the summer, the groups have been smaller, allowing us to form close connections during shared meals, classes, and free time. The biggest change over the past two weeks has been switching from almost completely unstructured days without guests, to having a daily schedule with meals and activities. This has shifted my daily work routine and my timeline for getting things done. Instead of being able to plan out my day according to my most productive times and the specific tasks for the day, I am guided by […]


Expressing Empathy in a Virtual World by Laura Reid

Going into CAPS, I had the assumption that most if not all of the placements would be remote, i.e. work from home. While this work style offered flexibility of location giving me the opportunity to travel and work anywhere I had Wi-Fi, I was worried about the potential lack of connections to the organization and staff. How could I form meaningful relationships and create a positive change if I was never in the same place with the people I was working toward that change with? To my surprise, after being selected as a fellow, many of the placements were in person or had in-person components. Going into the organization interviews, I didn’t let the pros or cons of either modality of work skew my opinion of the nonprofit organizations. Rather, I was focused on two somewhat simple things I am looking for in my future career: connection to the people […]


Expanding My Horizons and Developing Friendships by Hailey Kmetty

Writing this, I find myself over halfway through my internship at BallotReady. It is hard to believe! There is much left to do, but there has been so much I have learned since my last entry. BallotReady provides a wide variety of learning opportunities. Recently, we were introduced to entering officeholder media pages into TAFT Satellite, BallotReady’s database created by their engineering team. In addition, our data team supervisors have been hosting Excel and SQL “jams” or learning sessions. SQL is the programming language used within their databases. As a Global Service major, I have not had much experience with programming and databases. Therefore, these training sessions have been very helpful for me in expanding my set of hard skills as well as boosting my confidence in using them. We have also had the opportunity to watch and participate in lunch and learn sessions every week; thus far, my favorite […]


To Serve and Self-Discover

On June 30th, I visited LSSI’s Sterling Addiction Center, Sterling Group Home, and the Nachusa Lutheran Home campus, and I could not be more grateful to have the day trip that brought a lot of perspective to what I have been writing about. It would be no surprise to anyone that non-profit organizations can struggle, even in the simplest ways. But when you start to see these struggles in application, it really changes what you thought you knew. On July 14th, I visited Bethel Christian Church in south Chicago, delivering new and exciting books for LSSI’s Visits to Mom program where families of incarcerated women are taken on a 3 hour drive to their moms, friends, and daughters. I talked to the main coordinator and he opened up about his passion for the job, staying connected with the community, and being excited to push his innovative ideas further. Something that […]


Where to begin

Much has happened since my previous blog post. On a logistical end, my IT issues have been resolved and I have begun working more directly with Heartland clients. I find it especially difficult to articulate the vast array of feelings and thoughts that cross my mind when doing my work. There is awe at the strength of our clients for enduring countless struggles, all for the hope of a better life. Along with it, a deep sense of appreciation for the comparatively easy, coddled life I have. On a practical level, there are feelings of incompetence whenever I make a phone call and stumble across language barriers. Many of these individuals know 2 or more languages even before English, a truly outstanding feat as anyone who’s tried to learn a language knows. To complicate matters further, my work has not been near the caliber of a clinician, it has been […]


Ingenuity and Imposter Syndrome by Anna Mason

Ingenuity: The quality of being clever, original, and inventive. While I’d like to believe that I’ve always been clever, I can definitely say that my time so far working with Ingenuity Inc. has grown my skills in every definition of the word.  Ingenuity is a nonprofit organization that connects arts partners with Chicago Public Schools, as well as collecting and providing data on inequality and disparities throughout the system. As an intern with the Partnership and Learning department, I have been working on forging the connection between partners and the ever changing requirements of CPS. This year, the annual event for new partners has been revamped to include two other organizations: Communities In Schools of Chicago and the Chicago Literacy Alliance. My role has been a smattering of different tasks: finding speakers, creating social media posts, writing scripts, organizing the gist of the conference, and getting out of my comfort […]


Experiencing Water to Thrive in Austin Texas by Ebony Jessen

My first experience in Austin Texas was sleeping on top of my luggage at the Austin International Airport. After 5 long hours of flying and 4 hours of layover, I eventually made it to Texas where I soon realized nothing was open yet and I had to stay at the airport until 9 in the morning. Thankfully, I had my book and lots of delicious coffee to get me through it. Checking into my apartment was fairly easy and went very smoothly. What I did not expect was a roommate. Do not get me wrong, I was happy to have a roommate; however, it would have been nice to know beforehand instead of thinking I walked into the wrong apartment room. All that considered, my roommate Dani is a really nice person who has helped me experience what it is like to live in Austin Texas. On June 3rd, I […]


Get Connected (For Free)

As I prepare for my trip to Austin, Texas, where I will be spending one week of my internship in-person with Water to Thrive, I can’t help but reflect on all of the connections in my life that have helped get me here. My introduction to both the CAPS Fellowship and Water to Thrive organization started my freshman year of college while taking a required class for my Philanthropic Leadership & Service. Assuming that students attaining this minor were a target audience to introduce to the CAPS program, we had someone from the Institute for Leadership and Service present to our class about this fellowship opportunity. Being both a first-year and exploratory studies student, I was hesitant to apply for this opportunity, as I had little to no idea what I wanted to do when I was older. However, Madison Magiera, a classmate of mine, applied and was matched with […]


1989 (Phia’s Version) by Sophia Behrens

My friends and I have a running theory that moving to a new city should perfectly encapsulate the feeling you get when listening to the album 1989 by Taylor Swift. In this album, Swift is upbeat, bold, and seemingly unphased about her move from Nashville, TN to an apartment all by herself (and her cats), in New York City. While I was pretty sure that I would feel a bit more nervous about moving to a city alone, I knew that this internship would be a growing experience that only comes along once in a lifetime.     With a burst of confidence, I found myself testing our 1989 theory through the CAPS program, in my dream city. After a whirlwind of goodbyes and some (admittedly frantic) packing, I found myself settling down in a comfy apartment on the outskirts of Washington DC. While the pandemic has made my internship with […]


Why is the River Rushing? by Rebekah Hershberger

  My CAPS Placement at the Grunewald Guild is a bit unconventional, which is exactly what drew me to it. Nestled along the Wenatchee River, the Guild is surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Cascade Mountains, and the vibrant Wenatchee National Forest. When I arrived at the Guild at 11pm my first night, my supervisor took me out to the walking bridge over the river to listen to its roar and watch the stars. He told me that the river was the highest and fastest he had ever seen it, after recent warm temperatures led to a massive snow melt on the mountains. That first night I fell asleep in my loft to the sound of the river rushing right outside my window, imagining the new experiences it would bring with it.  Now three weeks later, the water levels have gone down a bit and I have adjusted to the […]


Funding the Gap by Lillian Gramza

Going into my Caps experience, I knew my work would give me a valuable peek into the administrative side of nonprofits. I did not anticipate, however, how a goal of empowerment, growth, and economic opportunity requires a constant fixation on money. I knew that services need funding and most social problems stem from financial inequality, but I underestimated the amount of time and energy that goes into securing money to run the organization and deliver services. Essentially, I did not realize that nonprofits were allowed to be greedy. Growing up comfortably, without needing to worry about paying for my basic needs, I learned to appreciate the world separate from “treasures on Earth”. I understood that money, while necessary to survive, should not be the focus of life. People who spend their time seeking money would find themselves with less than their neighbors. That reality helped me become a more empathetic […]


A Whole New World: Facing the Reality that is the U.S Immigration Crisis by Joy Kassel

In our world today, most people know it’s no secret that the United States is currently facing an immigration crisis. Merriam Webster defines a crisis as “an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is pending, especially one with the distinct possibility of a highly unfavorable outcome”. The crisis that U.S. immigration faces can be understood in one of two ways. First, one may understand the crisis in terms of the fact that there are millions of undocumented individuals in our country. For those who view the crisis in this way, the root of the issue lies in the fact that these individual’s sheer presence is “dangerous, unlawful, and/or wrong”. From personal experience, often-times these are the individuals who say that “people should immigrate legally”. On the other hand, there are those who view the crisis through a more systematic lens, citing that the […]