CCHD intern strives to put herself in others’ shoes


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

IOWA CITY — Each year, a Catholic with an interest in fighting poverty is selected to serve as a Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) intern in the Diocese of Davenport. This year’s intern is Alicia Ordaz, 20, a lifelong member of St. Patrick Parish and a student at Kirkwood Community College, both in Iowa City.

Alicia Ordaz poses for a picture at Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa in Iowa City, where she serves as a Catholic Campaign for Human Development intern.

Since completing training last summer, Alicia has been working at Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa in Iowa City — a place that is close to her heart. Alicia’s mother has been a member of the center since it opened six years ago. As a teen, Alicia volunteered there with tasks such as child care. “(My mom) loves to help and simply be involved in the community, so the center became a big part of our family.”

When Alicia heard about the internship, she was eager to apply. “I loved what the center was all about and I wanted to be even more involved.”


The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Alicia is fluent in English and Spanish. She has been involved in “all sorts of things” as an intern, such as assisting with English classes, sewing classes, translation and organizing fundraising events.

As an intern, Alicia has had the opportunity to learn about issues she wasn’t aware of, particularly language barriers and income worries. “They weren’t things I really thought about before because they aren’t much of an issue for me. …Luckily, with many of our classes and projects, we are working on trying to address those issues.”

On a personal level, she’s become more efficient at managing time. She’s also been inspired by seeing people step up when someone is in crisis. “As a CCHD intern I have learned that there is always someone willing to help and do something about a certain situation. There are always people who want to fight for something better or for a solution.”

Alicia plans to enroll at the University of Iowa in the fall, and is in the process of discerning a career path. She believes the skills she has learned as a CCHD intern will be beneficial no matter what she chooses. “The experience has opened me to other cultures and has helped me to understand and to put myself in others’ shoes.”

Apply for internship

Catholics who are interested in fighting poverty are encouraged to apply to be an intern for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. An ability to speak Spanish is preferred but not necessary to apply.

The intern will work with the Diocese of Davenport Social Action Office, Quad Cities Interfaith-Davenport or Center for Worker Justice-Iowa City. Tasks will vary but may include: parish education, training and outreach, writing letters and articles, doing research and developing relationships with community organizations and the Hispanic community. The internship is 16-20 flexible hours per week for 24 weeks during the school year. Salary is $14 an hour.

The intern must be able to attend CCHD training May 29-31 (all expenses paid).

CCHD is an organization which provides grants to self-help projects developed by grassroots groups of empowered poor persons who are working to address the root causes of poverty in their communities. CCHD works to increase Catholics’ awareness of poverty in the U.S., educates about Catholic social tradition and builds bridges between poor and non-poor communities.

For more information, or to apply for the internship go to Or, contact Loxi Hopkins at (563) 888-4212 or

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