Nonprofit leaderships students to intern in Hawaii

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Ellen Stewart, senior nonprofit leadership major, and Hannah Bruins, junior nonpprofit leadership, Act-In and Spanish minor, will use their Journey Grants to travel to a mountain farm on the island of Hawaii for two months this summer for a non-paid internships on an organic, educational farm. They will be staying in a loft apartment on the farm’s land.

Stewart’s risk management class worked with this nonprofit organization, Kohala Educational Farm, as an example of an organization transferring from a for-profit to a nonprofit. As they continued working with the form, the class began to see the organization’s long-term need.

“At the end of the semester, when we felt like our work was only half done, we proposed the idea of interns, and the farm was all for it,” Stewart said.

Kevin Shaffstall, a professor in William Jewell College’s Leadership Studies Program, approached Bruins and invited her to be part of the project along with Stewart. Bruins has past experience interning with the Tucker Leadership Lab, so Shaffstall thought she would be a logical addition to the farm.

Kohala Educational Farm was originally founded as a pumpkin farm. Those in charge decided to make the change to a nonprofit, educational farm in order to be able to receive grants and head up communiity development projects. Local community members who attend the farm will be taken on hayrides and learn about the land and what can grow on it. The goal of this system is to promote sustainable farming and to avoid the economic necessity of going into the tourism industry.

“If we increase education about growing your own food, the hope is that they’ll be able to afford healthier foods, and it will be better for the community,” Stewart said.

Stewart and Bruins both hope to develop professionally by being in an unfamiliar occupational and cultural environment. They aim to foster development in addition to learning from the community they are working to help flourish. Bruins also hopes to get a job at the local resort to supplement her finances.

“That’s the longest I’ve ever been away from home alone and the farthest away that I’ve ever been by myself, so I think that’ll be a cool adventure to find myself in it. And I love nature, so that’s the awesome component,” Bruins said.

Stewart will graduate in December 2015 and hopes to get a job with Kohala or a similar organization as her entrance into the professional nonprofit world. Bruins plans to go to graduate school upon her graduation in 2016 and eventually to become a clinical social worker for children with disabilities.

Erin Melton

Erin Melton is a senior Literature and Theory major and French and Religious Studies minor. She is the chief copy editor and loves camels.

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