Salvos Hope Internship Program helps teens improve their world
BY LAUREN MARTIN
A group of teenagers from Caringbah and Woolooware high schools in Sydney joined forces this year to change their local communities for the better through The Salvation Army’s Hope Internship Program.
The Salvation Army Hope Internship Program is an initiative designed for students who are passionate about social justice and making a difference in the community. The program teaches students the skills needed to be innovative, strategic and influential leaders – now and in the future.
Participants in this year’s program met throughout the year to work on community engagement, fundraising and advocacy projects supported by a network of professionals from the Salvos and the local community.
The program was initiated and run by the territorial ‘Salvos Schools’ team’s Roza Gutschow, who worked closely with the local corps and services in the Shire Salvos area where the schools were based.
Joel Campbell, Shire Salvos Mission Leader (Menai), said the students were passionate fundraisers for the Red Shield Appeal earlier this year and also had raised awareness at their schools around the work of The Salvation Army and the various local social issues they were learning about in the Internship Program.
“It’s great to see that the next generation wants to have an impact on the world, and The Salvation Army can partner with them to make their visions become a reality.”
On Friday 1 December, the Shire Hope Interns celebrated their achievements and showcased their final project – a food pantry for The Salvation Army’s new mission work at Heathcote. The interns have committed to supplying food for the pantry by collecting donations through their school communities.
“Our pantry box was originally created because we, as the Hope Interns, decided that there wasn’t enough available,” said Hannah, one of the interns. “And we wanted to create something for people that not only benefitted people when they needed it but was able for the community to give when they had too much and take when they had too little.”
Another intern, Cheryl, said the Hope Internship was one of the highlights of her year: “The best thing about the program was being able to connect with other young people who also had the same passion to make a difference in the community.”
It’s hoped that a second year of the Hope Internship Program will be offered in high schools throughout the Sutherland Shire in 2024.