This summer, four sisters are spending time learning more about our philanthropy Jewish Women International by holding internship positions at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. They have quickly realized, and all agree, that there are so many involvement opportunities for sisters across the country.
Emily Jacobs, who is entering her junior year at Alpha Theta-University of Maryland, has been interning at JWI since the end of May. Jacobs says, “I thrive on creativity, so I’m hoping to find creative ways to promote JWI.” Jacobs has certainly done so, helping to plan Summer Series breakfast workshops to encourage interns in the area to discuss women’s issues and even creating a BuzzFeed quiz to direct online traffic to JWI’s Vote Like a Girl web page.
Jacobs states that Girls Achieve Grapeness is just one of the many useful campaigns that JWI has to offer, many of which can even be implemented on college campuses, including Safe Smart Dating (an SDT/ZBT/JWI partnership) and Green Light Go (a ZBT/JWI partnership). She encourages sisters to just call and ask about the programs to learn even more!
Jacobs has learned a lot about what JWI does from her internship and hopes that SDT chapters across the country will be inspired to fundraise as much as possible. She appreciates JWI’s involvement with women empowerment and has even had the chance to attend briefings in Congress on issues including paid maternity leave and postpartum depression. “JWI is actively trying to help and has a unique angle as a small non-profit focused on empowering women,” she says.
Jacobs, who will be ending her internship at the end of July, knows that SDT and JWI have a lot in common when it comes to women empowerment. “Women empowerment starts with women being kind and offering support,” she says, “I think that is the biggest thing JWI and SDT are doing.”
Another intern, Alyssa Imam, agrees that sisters could be better educated on all of the programs JWI has to offer including the Book by Book Campaign and Life$avings. Imam, a junior at Beta Rho-University of Virginia, encourages sisters to reach out to coordinators and consider having a representative from JWI hold a workshop with their chapter.
Imam has been doing a lot of work during her internship including editing materials for the financial literacy programs, attending briefings at Congress and passing out informative materials on Capitol Hill regarding JWI’s initiatives for women’s issues. She thinks it’s important for sisters to educate ourselves on the issues that JWI fights for, learn how they fight for them, and get information about events and campaigns that we can support.
Imam was inspired to intern at JWI after she learned more about their strong efforts to empower women. “We all have something to gain from empowering women, and I think that JWI and SDT, both together and independently, are helping to do this,” she says.
Amanda Kerbel, Alpha Tau-The George Washington University, felt that interning at JWI was a perfect fit to combine her love of SDT and her passion for criminal justice. “I spend most of my time researching the policy issues and legislation that we advocate for,” says the incoming junior who holds a policy internship. “I go to Capitol Hill about once or twice a week to take notes at briefings about these legislative areas.”
Kerbel hopes that sisters will contribute as much time and effort into JWI’s programs year-round as they do during philanthropy weeks or the month designated to selling Girls Achieve Grapeness nail polish. She encourages sisters near JWI’s headquarters to reach out and learn about volunteer opportunities. “Nationwide, all sisters can still communicate with JWI staff to see how else we as a sorority can benefit this organization,” she says.
Kerbel knows that JWI and SDT are both accomplishing their goal, saying that these organizations “empower women through the positive language that they use and their positive messaging.”
Janie Gelfond, Alpha Iota-Tulane University, finished her internship at JWI as a marketing intern at the end of June. She helped create programs to strengthen the relationship between JWI and SDT and came up with the name for JWI’s voting campaign, #VoteLikeAGirl.
Throughout her internship, Gelfond learned a lot more than just marketing, saying “I have gained a new appreciation for what advocacy organizations like JWI do and the importance of being educated on topics relevant to me.” Gelfond admits that she didn’t know what JWI really did before her internship, but now is aware of the fact that they are present in almost every aspect of a woman’s life.
Since JWI does so much, Gelfond knows that it’s important to get involved. She says sisters can do so by attending leadership events or bringing some of JWI’s programs to their campus, which she states are all valuable tools for educating the college community about sexual assault. “SDT and JWI have created an extremely strong support network for their respective members,” says Gelfond, “they work on empowering women throughout all stages of their lives.”
These four sisters have learned a lot about women’s issues, and so much more, through their internships at JWI, and are excited to pass this information along to their own chapters. They all hope that sisters across the country will get even more involved with the non-profit organization and take full advantage of all of the programs it has to offer.
By Kelly Potts, Gamma Xi-Montclair State University (2015). Kelly is a volunteer feature and blog writer for Sigma Delta Tau.