By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
Mayra Hernandez is passionate about empowering immigrants and other vulnerable populations as a community organizer for Quad Cities Interfaith, a nonprofit organization funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
Hernandez, an immigrant and DACA recipient, said the Catholic Church’s work toward justice “really speaks to me.” Her advocacy work began five years ago as a CCHD intern in the Diocese of Davenport. She applied for the internship hoping to learn more about community organizing and working with immigration issues. While finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa in Iowa City she served the Center For Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa assisting clients with labor, immigration, housing and other social justice issues.
“I believe if it had not been for CCHD, I would not be where I am today,” she said. “The CCHD internship gave me the opportunity to discover and learn more about the work of justice the Catholic Church encourages us to take part in. … With such a supportive diocese, it has made my work as a community organizer easier because I have been able to build great relationships with other Catholics and I know that I can count on many people’s support.”
She encourages Catholics who are interested in fighting poverty to apply to be a CCHD intern in the Diocese of Davenport.
The diocesan Office of Social Action offers CCHD internships “to afford Catholics the opportunity to more fully live out their faith walking with the Two Feet of Social Justice,” said Deacon Kent Ferris, diocesan director of Social Action. Interns see what it looks like to help people living and working in poverty “to find their voices and create change for themselves, their families and their communities.”
The intern will work with Quad Cities Interfaith-Davenport, Center for Worker Justice-Iowa City, or Escucha Mi Voz. 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.
CCHD provides grants to self-help projects developed by grassroots groups of empowered poor persons 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.
The internship is 16-20 flexible hours per week for 24 weeks during the 2023-24 school year. Salary is $16 an hour. The intern must be able to attend CCHD training in Washington, D.C. May 31-June 2 (all expenses paid).
Applications are due March 15. For more information or to apply for the internship go to http://www.davenportdiocese.org/cchd-internship-opportunities.