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REQUESTS ARE DUE APRIL 14TH, 2014 AT 5:00 PM EST
The New Haven Food Policy Council Youth Internship provides an opportunity for high school-aged youth who are passionate about food issues such as hunger, health, business development, school food, growing food and cooking, to deepen their knowledge, develop their leadership skills, and work with the Food Policy Council to advocate for change.
ABOUT THE NEW HAVEN FOOD POLICY COUNCIL AND WHY WE ARE FOCUSING ON YOUTH
Our mission is to build and maintain a food system that nourishes all people in a just and sustainable manner. The New Haven Food Policy Council (NHFPC) is a volunteer advisory council to the City of New Haven. Our eleven council members are New Haven residents, appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Board of Alders to address issues relating to our local and regional food system. In 2013 the NHFPC released the “New Haven Food Action Plan” to galvanize support and guide work on food system issues such as hunger, obesity, economic development, urban agriculture and education. The NHFPC works collaboratively with all organizations doing food justice work in New Haven.
The NHFPC knows that it is critical to expand opportunities and supports for youth to develop skills and bring about change. There is enormous potential to tap the enthusiasm around food issues among New Haven’s youth and provide leadership opportunities for youth in the food justice and food access movement. Through the NHFPC Youth Internship Program, the NHFPC hopes to provide a framework and support network to foster youth-led social change in New Haven’s food environment.
HOW THE INTERNSHIP WORKS FOR YOUTH
To participate in the NHFPC Youth Internship Program, high school-aged youth (age 13-19) must apply and be accepted into the program. A committee of NHFPC members and partners will review the youths’ applications and will select 4-6 youth interns for the 2014/15 year-long program.
During the application process, youth interns will indicate a specific aspect of New Haven’s food environment they are interested in focusing on. Examples of topics for investigation may include, but are not limited to:
- Community gardens and urban farming
- Cooking classes and food education
- Food assistance outreach
- Healthy school food
- Food business development and food workers’ rights
Interns will be matched with nonprofits and community-based organizations based on the intern’s indicated interests. With the assistance of the New Haven Food Policy Council internship coordinator, host organizations and interns will work together to establish a work plan that contributes to both the interns’ personal and professional development as well as the host sites’ mission. Based on the work plan, interns will work with their project host site to investigate their chosen topics through various methods, including learning-by-doing, online research, outreach and interviews, or surveys. All interns will be required to complete and log a minimum of 50 hours over the course of one year at their host sites and Food Policy Council meetings/trainings/events. The distribution of these hours is flexible and will depend on the interns’ schedules and the nature of the work at their host site. For example, an intern at a community garden may log more hours in the summer, whereas an intern working on school food issues may choose to complete his/her hours during the school year. However, interns are expected to participate in the Food Policy Council’s events and meetings throughout the year (July 2014 - June 2015). Overall, interns will be expected to apply around half of their 50 hours (25 hours) at their worksite and half with the Food Policy Council.
In addition to an intensive orientation session in July, interns will attend monthly training sessions to prepare them with the knowledge of food justice and leadership skills they need to carry out the internship successfully. In particular, the training will focus on the art of telling stories as a means of advocacy. Storytelling is a powerful form of communication and advocacy, and will be central to the youth internship experience.
Each intern will be expected to produce a minimum of 4 advocacy efforts based on their experience and research at their host organization that will contribute to the Food Policy Council’s work. Advocacy efforts may include:
- An oral presentation or a written report
- A series of blog posts or editorials
- A collection of photographs (photojournalism)
- Spoken word performance
- Advocacy events/petition signings etc.
Ultimately, the format of the project will be determined by the youth, however, all projects must include an advocacy or storytelling component.
In return for the youth interns’ efforts and contributions, youth interns will receive:
- Position as an Affiliate Member of the Food Policy Council
- $600 stipend in quarterly installments of $150
- Skills to apply towards college applications and job resumé
- Valuable benefits associated with youth-led social change, including professional skill development, heightened self-confidence, enhanced socio-political capacity, and a greater sense of civic ownership
HOW THE INTERNSHIP WORKS FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION
Youth involvement in social change can be incredibly beneficial to the community at large. Youth-led social change:
- Exposes your organization/project to the unique perspective and energy of young people in the community
- Forges strong relationships and trust between youth and adults in the communities your organization/project serves
- Increases transparency and accountability in decision-making structures from which young people and other marginalized groups have historically been excluded.
Communities benefit most when young people have meaningful opportunities to engage in civic leadership and social change. Likewise, your organization, as an agent of social change within the New Haven community, can benefit from incorporating youth leaders into your organization’s work.
YOUR COMMITMENT AS AN INTERNSHIP HOST ORGANIZATION
As a host organization, we ask that the proposed intern supervisor assist the youth and Youth Coordinator for the NHFPC in developing a work plan for and provide mentorship to the youth intern.
In addition, the proposed intern supervisor at your organization must be able to attend:
- A workshop (June 2014) to share experiences and knowledge of preparing youth leaders
- A community dinner event at the beginning (June 2014) of the internship program to welcome youth interns to the program
- A concluding celebration event (June 2015)
These events will be arranged around the schedules of our intern supervisors to the best of our ability, but we ask that intern supervisors commit to attending these workshops and events when feasible.
If you have any questions about the program or the application, please contact:
CitySeed/New Haven Food Policy Council VISTA