CCSC offices and programs will close at 2 p.m. on Wed., April 17, and reopen at 11 a.m. on Thurs., April 18.

A Look at the Influence of Internships

There are experiences in our lives that impact us in ways that reverberate for years. For some CCSC interns, the experience of working with us influences their path profoundly. For the CCSC staff, having interns share their fresh perspectives, ideas and energy is always invigorating and inspiring.

“I definitely think that my time at CCSC encouraged me to consider a career in a helping profession,” 2007 and 2009 community intern Rev. Danielle Cox said. “At the time, I was in college, and I expected to work for a nonprofit or international NGO after graduation. In hindsight, now that I am an ordained minister, I think that my work at CCSC was influencing me in ways I didn’t realize, gently nudging me into ministry.”

A 2006 ExxonMobil Foundation Community Summer Jobs Program intern, Jennifer Svetlik, agrees. “I continued to work in faith-based nonprofit organizations and haven’t stopped ever since!” Svetlik said. “I remember being impacted by the extent of urban poverty that I witnessed, and also by the various creative programs that were meeting the needs of CCSC clients.

“For nearly 20 years now, I have worked in communications, fundraising, program coordination and administration at a variety of small- and medium-sized Christian nonprofit organizations,” Svetlik added. “CCSC absolutely had a powerful impact on me in shaping my career in this direction.”

CCSC’s relationships with the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the ExxonMobil Foundation have allowed us to host those foundation’s interns and to benefit from their budding talents. Last year, CCSC was selected to serve as a host organization for the Bank of America Charitable Foundation Student Leaders program, which helps develop the next generation of leaders by partnering with local nonprofits to provide meaningful summer internships.

In Houston, five Bank of America Charitable Foundation Student Leaders were chosen and three were placed with CCSC last summer. Annelise Do, Adetoun Taiwo and Ben Who were all rising high school seniors. Alicia Lyon, a rising sophomore at Tulane University, was CCSC’s ExxonMobil Foundation Community Summer Jobs Program intern.

The Student Leaders’ roles at CCSC varied: Who researched a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system; Taiwo worked on marketing projects; and Do assessed programming. Lyon, an ExxonMobil Foundation Community Summer Jobs Program intern, worked with our Emergency Services-Central program. As different as their projects were, each intern’s work made a tangible impact on CCSC’s mission.

“We were grateful for the opportunity to serve as a host organization for Bank of America’s Student Leaders program,” CCSC Chief Advancement Officer Lauren Niemeyer said. “Each project that our summer interns worked on helped CCSC move forward and better deliver services to families in need in our community.”

CCSC’s 2023 Bank of America Student Leaders agreed that spending the summer working with CCSC was a unique experience.
“At other places, as a volunteer, it was just like I was helping or doing something extra. But here, we contributed to the mission directly,” Taiwo said.

“We want to equip our young people with the work experience and leadership skills they need to succeed in the workforce and provide opportunities to help propel their careers and passions. The Bank of America Student Leaders program allows us to provide students with real-world, paid employment experience, while also connecting our wonderful nonprofit partners, like Christian Community Service Center, to meaningful employment support,” said Hong Ogle, President, Bank of America Houston. “By working at the Christian Community Service Center, Student Leaders gained a deep understanding of the needs of the local community and developed unique skills they can take with them through their career journey.”

Jones Bowman, a 2018 community intern, fondly remembers being surrounded by “an amazing group of people” during his time volunteering at CCSC’s Emergency Services-Central food pantry. “Working at CCSC made me develop a sense of compassion and connection to my community,” Bowman said. “It showed me how good it feels to help people and, as of now, I’m looking at two careers, teacher and firefighter. I really believe CCSC played a big role in that.”

Over the years, CCSC President & CEO Michelle Shonbeck has had the joyful experience of meeting many interns. “It is always gratifying to work with high school and college interns. We love to see their growth, benefit from their creativity, and feel their idealism,” Shonbeck said. “We appreciate our community and corporate partners that bring these students and their talents to us. And we are gratified by how our interns often internalize the values they witness at CCSC.”

Rev. Cox, now senior minister at Avon Christian Church in Avon, Indiana, believes what she witnessed and learned at CCSC influences her ministry today.

“CCSC shaped the way I do ministry, from the ecumenical collaboration of Hurricane Harvey recovery in my last congregation to my current congregation’s project with Habitat for Humanity addressing barriers to affordable housing in our community,” Rev. Cox said. “The biggest lasting impact of my time at CCSC is a deep understanding and great appreciation for the work that churches can do when they band together across denominational identity to serve their neighbors, far greater than any one church could do on its own.”

Rev. Danielle Cox interned with CCSC in 2007 and 2009 and now serves as senior ministor of Avon Christian Church in Indiana.

"I think the work I did at CCSC definitely influenced by worldview and gave me a better understanding of the different types of barriers so many families face, which often impact their assistance needs."

- Rev. Danielle Cox

Feeding Hunger, Fostering Hope, Furthering Success
P.O. Box 27924, Houston,
Texas 77227
3434 Branard St,
Houston, TX 77027
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