EYA Experiences: Shannon Mendez Silva
Shannon Mendez Silva interned at RESULTS as part of Church and Society's Ethnic Young Adult internship program. She reflects on lessons she learned while serving as an intern and what motivated her during that time.
As an immigrant in this country, I never imagined going so far in life. The hard work payed off in the end and being an Ethnic Young Adult intern has made me view things differently and from a broader perspective. Issues of social injustice are all around us and we have to realize that this is the reality we now live in. Even though the news does not often cover what should be on the front page, we all form our own interpretation of what an issue may or may not be. Therefore, I decided to be more involved in my community to make an impact in people’s lives and to change the policies needed to make this country a better place to live.
Through this internship, I’ve started to connect the dots together of what it really means to be involved in policy change and advocacy work. Most importantly, it taught me to set boundaries between your work and personal life. Not to mention that selfcare will always be the best care. Moreover, it has shown me the dedication a person must have in order to put the work into creating successful change to issues of social injustice. This has all been proven to work if you do research, keep an open mind, consider different solutions to a problem and maintain a purpose and goals to keep you on track along the way.
Luckily, I got the chance to be placed with an organization called RESULTS, which works to end poverty at the national and global level. Every morning, I wake up early and commute to work, but as I am walking to my workplace, I cannot help but notice the homeless and others struggling to put food on the table for their families. As I see their struggles, I use that as my motivation and drive to complete every task and project I complete at my workplace. The work I complete will be used to lobby and advocate for several bills and policies for Congress to pass and be made into laws to better people’s lives. I know it is easier said than done, but most of the work from my internship has taught me that nothing is impossible anymore. This organization has also taught me that teamwork is key to accomplishing the mission of their organization, as long as they distribute different roles and have good work ethics to get the job done.
Furthermore, I have taken full advantage of this opportunity, because this will provide me with a head start into my future career as a social worker. This major is very broad, and this is why I decided to take the initiative to get involved, represent those who are underrepresented, make our voices count and make connections to collaborate with others while making a change in our country.
Editor’s note: This reflection first appeared on the Ethnic Young Adult program’s blog. It has been edited slightly for publication here.