While I still have 3 weeks left at the American Jewish World Service, I have already learned so much in my time there. I have learned a lot about social justice work, especially the work that the AJWS does. The AJWS goes into a region and supports a grassroots organization that is already trying to do the work, and we support them. Therefore, once we leave, the region is not defenseless but has learned how to defend itself and has received support from outside organizations. I have learned that it is better to help people help themselves than do try and do it for them because if we do, once we leave everything would revert back to the way it was. Moreover, I have learned that social justice work is not just going in and helping organizations, it takes a lot of people in different divisions. It takes people who can reach out to donors and people to communicate with the public, etc. Social justice work goes far beyond the ground work, and that can be seen within any social justice organization.
In my time at the AJWS, I believe that I have made an impact because I helped the finance division be more productive. Nothing can get done without the finance division and my help has helped them complete their tasks that the rest of the organization rests upon. Furthermore, myself along with the other interns has helped all the departments. Each week we have met with different department heads and we have had the opportunity to hear about each department and pitch ideas to help reach our generation.
I wish I had known when I started to appreciate the time I had there. Six weeks has already gone by and it still feels as though I just started working there. I still have a lot to learn but the experience has been amazing. I would tell anyone who wants to enter this type of work, to appreciate the work they want to do and really care about it. Social justice work is important and it takes a lot to help people fight for rights or convince others to want to help. Therefore, you yourself must really care because if you don’t it is hard to expect others to do so.
Remember to check out the website to find out more about the American Jewish World Service!
– Melissa Frank