Fall 2022 Internship Blog Series #2: Mariam Prater ’23
Our Internship Blog Series continues with a post from Mariam Prater ’23. This summer Mariam served as a Community Engagement Intern at the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement (CLNE) in North Minneapolis. The Center is led by ELCA Pastor Kelly Chatman.
Tell us about yourself and why you applied to CLNE.
My name is Mariam Prater and I am a Senior majoring in English and Political Science with a concentration in Race and Ethnic Studies. This summer I interned with the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement (CLNE) in North Minneapolis as a Community Engagement Intern. I was interested in doing this internship for two reasons: 1) I’d had a friend experience the internship and they greatly enjoyed it, and 2) I have had a long history of non-profit, community-oriented work — both on campus and back home in Chicago. I have always enjoyed being and working in community with those of similar and different identities from myself. In my mind, this internship was a chance for me to experience that sense of community while in a completely different city and I greatly looked forward to that. Luckily, I was able to have that be fulfilled.
What aspects of CLNE’s mission did you connect with the most?
Over the course of the summer, our cohort of three interns worked to engage the Northside community through targeted cookouts while also engaging in existing church communities that build loving environments and support their younger populations. While our summer was unconventional in the scope of our work, we were relieved at the amount of knowledge our cohort was able to share amongst each other in order to advance our knowledge of community engagement work while also holding true to our own values. A specific instance of us gaining this lesson was through our work with Zion Missionary Baptist Church, a church that primarily engages Black practitioners and has yet to build the bridge separating their older generation and the young adults of their congregation. Our role was to help those within the church to come to terms with working with us as college-aged students while not compromising ourselves, our reach, and our capacity for work. Through lots of negotiation and communication, we were able to overcome conflict with those in leadership and build a relationship that culminated into a collaborative effort at the end of our summer where we were able to distribute over 100 backpacks and school supplies to residents of the Northside community.
Thanks to the help of the Lutheran Center, I was able to learn and apply new values that have helped me come to the realization that community engagement work is my vocation and what I want to do for as long as I am able.
What are some of your takeaways from your internship with CLNE?
Thanks to the help of the Lutheran Center, I was able to learn and apply new values that have helped me come to the realization that community engagement work is my vocation and what I want to do for as long as I am able. CLNE is the perfect opportunity to build community-based knowledge while being able to observe and engage in different dynamics than what one may be familiar with. I really appreciate the opportunity to have been able to intern with CLNE and I look forward to advancing the Lutheran Center’s values in my daily life.