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By Maham Nadeem

This year I served in the role of interfaith intern at the Center of Faith and Vocation. Through my experiences I was able to not only gain knowledge about different faith traditions, but also about my own management strengths and weaknesses. Specifically, the majority of my time was spent planning for a campus wide interfaith program. One of the challenges I often face in large group oriented projects such as this is being able to delegate and lead professionally. I have the tendency to take over group work and do the majority of it myself. Keeping this in mind, I made a conscious effort to delegate work and make sure that every person on the council could share ownership of the program. To spearhead this whole concept in the spirit of group collaboration, I instructed everyone to brainstorm two ideas and then partnered council members into groups to chose one idea among all the options. Subsequently, each group presented the concept they chose and all together the council narrowed down on one of the ideas. Collectively, we decided to hold a fair on the Jordan mall with stalls concentrating on music, art, clothing, discussion, and children’s books. We called it “A Fun Fair to Further Faith with Friends.”

To keep this post short and sweet, I will skip the descriptions of all the planning and brainstorming meetings and skip to the day of the fair. All in all, it was a success from my perspective. Best of all, I was leading but not taking over or controlling. Every member of the council was attentive and helpful. Because of that, there was a charm and energy in the crowd that would not have been possible without their active involvement and excitement. Moreover, because we were in such a central location, we were able to attract a lot of people to our event. Ultimately, the most important part of such an effort is ensuring that a targeted audience is able to attend and we were able to accomplish that.

 

By Katie Crouse

The knowledge and experience I have gained from my internship with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) has been incredibly valuable. I have made new connections that I hope will continue to grow after my time with the CIC has ended.

Through my work with the CIC, I became more aware of the Indianapolis community around me. As someone who does not have a car at Butler, this internship provided me with opportunities to learn about the community. I visited places of worship and was part of meetings with people from all different backgrounds and faith traditions. I was able to become part of the community and see it in a new way; One that I would not have found on my own.

Collaborating in the production of the Sacred Spaces Tour was wonderful and rewarding. Having a theme of song and recitation, I was able to apply backgrounds from both my music and religion majors. I felt that I contributed greatly to the tour and I gained and understanding of each faith tradition through this process.

The CIC has been an invaluable networking tool for me. I have become equipped with so many connections and outreach opportunities. Through my time at the CIC, I have learned that everyone, everywhere has a story. There is something interesting and unique about every person.

I am thankful to the Center for Faith and Vocation for the internship opportunity. I am also overwhelmingly thankful to the Center for Interfaith Cooperation for their support and guidance throughout my internship. I am especially grateful to the director, Charlie Wiles. His love for interfaith and community inclusion is inspiring. I hope to continue to stay involved with the CIC and to continue to participate and build relations in my Indianapolis community.

by Lauren Koester

Faith and vocation is something in our fast paced and changing society has become a hot topic among many employees and employers. How can a person still live a life of faith, while advancing their career? Having participated in the Center of Faith and Vocation internship program, I have found that faith and vocation go hand in hand. Each organization that partakes in this internship program offers a greater insight into how careers and faith are connected.

Growing up my family instilled in me the idea to pay it forward and to live a life of faith. This past semester I had the opportunity to be Trinity Free Clinic’s marketing intern. This internship allowed me to have the opportunity to see how volunteers and staff pay it forward every day. It has been a joy to hear how the staff and volunteers were led to service; specifically, at this faith based nonprofit.

Trinity Free Clinic is a nonprofit organization in Hamilton County whose purpose and mission is to provide free medical and dental care to Hamilton County’s most vulnerable residents. This spring semester I have had the opportunity to assist the Clinic in their spring fundraiser, Taste Sip Savor. It was amazing watching this event turn from a plan to a successful evening. On April 21, some of the incredible people in Hamilton County came together to support such an amazing cause and mission.

This organization has taught me many skills that I can utilize the rest of my life. Skills from managing multiple social media accounts, how to prospect vendors and sponsors, and above all how to make a positive impact  in the community by still keeping in touch with my faith.

 

 

By Charlotte Hinkamp

When I first started my internship at the Expungement Help Desk, I was very excited to
get more legal experience. I did not expect to absolutely love the job, the people that I worked
with, and the people that came in every day to get their criminal records expunged. This
internship was rewarding in several different ways that I did not anticipate, and I am sad that my
time at the Help Desk is coming to an end.
My favorite part of working at the Help Desk was talking to and interacting with all the
people who came in. Everyone has a different story, but everyone has the same goal, which is
expungement. Almost everyone wants to get their record expunged because it is holding them
back from getting a job, and being employed would completely turn their life around. They can
finally stop being held back by mistakes they made in the past, and live the life they always
aspired to live.
The biggest thing I learned is that the Justice System definitely benefits those with
money. Most of the people who visit the Help Desk cannot afford to hire an attorney to help with
expungement and had to use a public defender instead of a private attorney during their cases.
Those who can afford a private attorney are at a clear advantage as those attorneys are more
successful at getting cases dismissed or making a plea deal to lessen the charges. I love being
able to provide people with the opportunity to clear their record, because without the free
services of the Help Desk, these lower income individuals would be disadvantaged because of
their old mistakes.
I could not be more grateful for having the opportunity to intern at the Expungement Help
Desk. Helping people clear their criminal record to embark on a new phase of their life has been
one of my proudest accomplishments as a Butler student. This experience exceeded my
expectations, and although I am sad to leave, I am so happy that I had this experience.

by Matthew Fleckenstein

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it,” Steve Jobs.

As with most new jobs, I didn’t really know what to expect coming into this internship. Sure, I read the job description, asked questions during the interview and I knew what the Center for Faith and Vocation was and what it does but the only sure thing was that I was the communications intern hired to help promote center events on social media and around campus, send out a weekly newsletter and host a monthly event called Big Questions. I figured it to be another communications internship that would give me experience in this huge field I am to enter into. Little did I know what I was about to learn about myself personally and professionally. Here’s what I learned that I love.

  • Putting on for events

Ok, admittedly I knew I enjoyed this going in and it was a significant appeal of this internship, but I didn’t realize how much I love it. From the very beginning conception of the event to watching it happen.

  • Have meaning in my work / when I enjoy my work

If I’m not doing something I enjoy then it is much more difficult for me to do it. Spurring off that, the work has to have meaning to it and meaning can come in many forms. Fortunately with this internship, the work had a lot of meaning. This is something that I just have to keep in mind going forward.

  • Working on a small team

Small teams are wonderful. It means you’re working on multiple projects at once, contributing in a variety of ways not just stuck to one task and you are more likely to see the end product.

Something students can forget as they go through the process of checking off the boxes to get a degree is finding what they truly want to do. This experience has allowed me to reflect on what I want to do and I am grateful for that as I enter my senior year at Butler.

by Emilie Turner

Interning with Catholic Charities Immigration and Refugee Services quickly became about more than getting class credits, it became a path changer. Working with refugees every day from Burma, Sudan, Somalia, and Syria, teaching them English and about our American culture, and subsequently learning about their culture and journey truly caused me to grow not only as a student but also as a human being. The highlight of my internship occurred two times a week when I got to work with a woman from Somalia and teach her English and acculturation.

Through this opportunity, my patience was truly tested because of the language barrier. However at the end of the day, that language barrier pushed me to step in her shoes and understand what it is like to be in a place where you cannot communicate your basic feelings or even ask for help. You quickly learn what is universal in this world and that is laughter. When we couldn’t understand what each other was saying, rather than getting frustrated we laughed. We also found google translate to be our best friend and we began after our third session to learn about each other. I would share and she would share and sooner or later, I learned that this 24 year old woman has been through more than I could ever imagine, yet every single day I was with her she never stopped smiling and being grateful. Every time I went to leave for the day, she would run to the kitchen and get me different foods. It was her way of saying thank you even if it were her last banana or water she had. You leave this internship with more than just additional academic knowledge but you also compassion, empathy, and faith. You get to personally accompany the clients through their transition, become a familiar face to them, and show them that they are finally welcomed in a country and that is truly humbling. 

 

 

Best, 

By Monica Wright

 

A few weeks ago, during a slow spell, a woman came into our office for a criminal record expungement. This is not uncommon, we see a number of people every day for this reason, and help them in any way we can. However, this woman immediately caught my attention because of her demeanor. She was hopeful, and came into our office smiling.

She told us that she was about to become a grandmother, and because both of son and daughter-in-law were in the military, she would have a large role in this child’s life. She came to us because she wanted to have some charges expunged that were over 20 years old, so she could set a good example for this child in her life. Not only that, but she shared that she had a rare disease she caught as a real estate agent. She visited a home with a deadly fungus, and the spores had spread through her throat and lungs. She wanted to make sure she could have a fresh start before she passed away. The addition of this new child in her life and her growing uncertainty at her life expectancy inspired her to clear her record. She got emotional at the thought of being able to start fresh, and blessed my supervisor and me before she left our office.

As the Center for Faith and Vocation’s Expungement Desk Intern I work directly with the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic at their Expungement Desk. I work to create petitions, early filing requests, research Indiana expungement law, and create marketing materials for the Expungement Desk. Most importantly, I get to hear people’s stories. I hear about their families, their dreams, why they’re trying to clear their records. I get to hear about their dreams and ambitions, and help them create their new future.

Giving someone a second chance is a beautiful thing. No one should be defined by the worst thing they have ever done, that’s why the work done at the Expungement Desk is so important. The work we do is so fulfilling and really changes people’s lives. This internship reminded me the importance of the legal system, and showed me firsthand how it can change someone’s life.

by Nick Maicke ’18

When I applied to become an intern at the Center for Interfaith Cooperation (man, it seems like years ago), there was really no way for me to predict just how much I would gain from the experience. The open-ended nature of the internship and the extremely flexible and dedicated nature of my supervisor Charlie Wiles was an excellent combination for me. It meant that I was able to pursue my own interests (how faith and interfaith affect international politics) while still being very involved with the team’s projects within the CIC. For someone like me that enjoys setting goals for himself and working to reach them independently, this was the perfect structure for me, and it was one of the things that allowed me to really get the most out of this internship.

By far the most exciting part of my work at the CIC was the Festival of Faiths: the group’s main event that brings together dozens of faith groups from throughout Indianapolis. Literature on this event was what made me want to apply to the CIC position, and it definitely did not disappoint. Despite having studied here at Butler for almost three and a half years, I was blown away by the number of different cultural and religious groups that we have right here in our city. The event was like nothing I had ever seen before. Every group that was represented was not only willing but extremely excited to inform the public and share their culture with everyone else. I saw everything from a Buddhist meditation group of a dozen people to Hindus explaining the traditions of the Vedas to a group of Christians, all the while the number of turbans in the room steadily grew as the Sikh representatives happily tied them for those of all faiths. So many of the things I did that day were first-time experiences, and there was no way to prepare for exactly how much I learned during the Festival of Faiths. The event certainly surpassed my expectations, and was one of the most rewarding experiences that I had while working as an intern with the CIC.

If you have the opportunity to work for or even visit the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, it’s an experience I highly recommend. The people there are entirely focused on promoting understanding, interaction and open dialogue between people of different faiths and backgrounds, and on top of that they’re some of the most dedicated workers that I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. Working with Charlie, John, Abbygail and the rest of the staff at the CIC has helped me to grow not only professionally, but personally as well, as I was able to explore and expand my own worldview during my entire time at the CIC. I’m very grateful to the CFV and Butler for affording me this fantastic opportunity, and I can only hope that my future place of employment is anything like the Center for Interfaith Cooperation.

 

By Maham Nadeem ’19

This past semester I served as the CFV interfaith intern. In this capacity, I served as the chair of the Interfaith Council. I was able to work with a vibrant, energetic, and engaged group of students all coming together to discuss faith. As the chair, it was my responsibility to choose discussion topics and lead the conversation.

Throughout this whole experience, I was able to engage and connect with people from different backgrounds. As a Muslim woman in today’s America, being a part of this group has been really meaningful to me. Since there has been a spotlight of adversity on my faith tradition in recent months, it has been really empowering to share with others the good my religious community has to offer. Its been comforting to talk to other people of faith and make connections on how many similarities our respective faiths share. For example, in nearly every meeting this semester, council members were able to connect verses and written text to the topic we were currently discussing and often times what they were quoting was very similar in meaning.

As a leader in a discussion, one of the most challenging things to do is making sure you are engaging everyone in the room. I tried my best to make everyone in the group feel involved. Often times this pushed my out of my own comfort space. I tried to set an example of courage and bravery by speaking out and honestly sharing about own experiences, doubts, and beliefs. I think for the most part this helped set a tone of openness and respect which encouraged others to share about their own personal beliefs.

In the future, I want to further hone all the leadership skills I have learned through this internship. I want to continue to connect with people through interfaith discussions. Personally, I believe the solution to many disagreements is proper discussions. In the future, I hope to facilitate conversations about faith and the intersections between religions.

by Rainie Grant, ’18

Communication with self …and then with others

This semester I learned that before I can communicate with others, I first have to learn how to communicate with myself.

As the Communications Intern, my favorite thing to say has been that the hardest part of organizing an event is convincing people to come to your event instead of participating in any of the other many options that are open to them. You can create a wonderful event and invite as many people as possible, but that doesn’t guarantee that they will come. Marketing strategy and communication is key to drawing people’s interest to events so that they can gain whatever message is being passed along; however, none of that means anything if you don’t know, yourself, what you want from the experience.

Working in communications at the CFV has given me the chance to discover who I have become, why, and what I want to gain in the future, from the internship as well as from Butler and life. By facing my fears and standing in front of different groups to lead conversations about prominent issues, by being tasked with choosing and categorizing my principle values, and by playing a role in how people relate to each other, I have been encouraged to communicate with myself and to answer these questions for myself.

Finding my place, my role, within the process of communicating with others has allowed me to identify how I can use the tools I have gained in order to appeal to myself and more easily to others. I am very pleased with how my time with the CFV has progressed, and I look forward to continuing to use these tools in the future as I work my way to law school and whatever may follow. I sincerely thank Marguerite and Daniel for their mentorship and for their guidance in helping to develop my communication skills with both myself and others.

 

 

 

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