Twelve persons, ages 19 to 23, began work in Washington, D.C. early in June in the Ethnic Minority Young Adult (EYA) Summer Internship program of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). They are working in social-justice organizations in the U.S. capital for two months.
Young adults are selected annually, primarily from the five ethnic caucuses of The United Methodist Church, to participate in the internships. In recent years, Central Conferences (outside the United States) have had an increased participation in the internships.
To qualify, applicants must be passionate about social justice and active in the denomination, according to the Rev. Neal Christie, GBCS assistant general secretary for Education & Leadership Formation who directs the program. Christie, an EYA intern himself in 1984, said the internship is The United Methodist Church’s only leadership development program with a public-policy and advocacy focus that reaches out to under-represented racial and ethnic young adults of color.
“This summer we have students from across the United States, representing Asian, African, Caribbean, Pacific Islanders and Puerto Rican ethnicities,” Christie said. “This is the third year in a row that we have had such a significant involvement across the global church.”
This year’s intern placement sites include the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Men Can Stop Rape, National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, Interfaith Worker Justice and Churches for Middle East Peace.
The 12 interns come from eight United Methodist annual (regional) conferences, and three from Central Conferences in Africa.
Jamil Hendricks, 21, is a member of St. James UMC in Kansas City. He attends Pittsburg (Kan.) State University majoring in Psychology. Placement is with Men Can Stop Rape, which empowers male youths and the institutions that serve them to work as allies with women in preventing rape and other forms of men’s violence.
In addition to their work placements, interns also participate in weekly seminars exploring issues that affect different racial/ethnic communities.
Interns are housed at George Washington University. They attend church together each Sunday, and meet for weekly evening devotions and Bible studies.
“The EYA interns truly embrace what it means to live in Christian community day in and day out,” said Christie. “They know that this summer is more than professional stair stepping or positioning to pack a resume. It’s about witnessing to the Gospel in their placements and in their Friday seminars.”
The interns traveled to New York City July 11-14 to visit GBCS’s United Nations & International Affairs office. It is in the Church Center for the United Nations, owned by the United Methodist Women, across the street from the United Nations. They will also visit the General Board of Global Ministries, the United Nations and some social-justice programs.
More information about the EYA program can be obtained from Christie at (202) 488-5611 or email@example.com. Application details are available at EYA Internship Program.