Center for Community Engagement
Submitted by Nedia M. Morsy on Sunday, 6/12/2011, at 11:05 PM

Hi Guys!

I work out in Holyoke at the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, which aims to to eliminate illegal housing discrimination. The internship is oozing with Education! In the past week, I have learned much about MA law, specifically the Federal Fair Housing Act. Recently, our organization has received a grant of 1 million from HUD (Housing and Urban Development) and has been put to been immediate use -I attended a conference with Meris, the director, on Monday with housing representatives of the Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties to determine into what projects the money would be placed towards. Our clients have been most helpful in there eagerness to offer testimonials. On Wednesday, we launched our new website, complete with slideshow and Web links. I have been fortunate enough to jump on the opportunity to write for both the fall and spring newsletters during the upcoming school year. Meris leaves brochures, journals, and articles at my desk every morning and with a staff of five, I have sat in on all meetings with clients. I have learned how to navigate around an office and the staff has provided their own insight on government assistance (Section 8 housing and its failed mission to uproot low income families into areas of low poverty) and how they found their way to MFHC. Although the legal system is meticulous, I am excited to have the opportunity to form my own bias, an educated one this time.

First Week---Dresdiana

Submitted by Dresdina Mavindidze on Sunday, 6/12/2011, at 7:45 PM

This summer I am working with the Trustees of Reservations in Holyoke as a Property Management Intern. Amina Taylor is also one of the interns working with this organisation. Owning over 100 properties,the organization works not only to protect places of environmental importance in Massachusetts but to also restore places that have been ruined and making them accessible to the public.

During my first week I took  a number of trips to some of the properties that are namely Dinosaur Footprints and Little Tom, and I can say that the experience has led me to look at the environment with a different eye. Whereas I was one of those people who merely look at the surroundings and see just green, I am happy to say that now I can see beyond that green. My mind is now always in a hunting mood for invasive plants. I was shocked when I looked at one of the booklets with a whole list of such plants; some of them are eye captivating! The kind you would not mind having in a treasured flower garden. I, for one, confess to having referred to some of them as pretty prior to the discovery that they are actually harmful to the rest of nature. By adding toxic substances to soil, they thwart the chance of growth for any other native plants in the same surroundings. Selfish isn’t it?

For this past week, I can say I have been on the receiving end of my theme of education. My supervisor has been teaching me a lot about invasive plants and how to use other devices like the power drill, which I never knew how to use before. In addition, I am also learning about the history of the town of Holyoke through polite conversation with my supervisor.As the internship progresses, I hope to learn more about this part of the state as far as the environment is concerned and to increase my expertise in team work.Concerning what I can teach others as part of my theme, I am hoping to pass on my acquired knowledge of the properties to visitors and volunteers who come to visit.

Pioneer Valley Blogging

Submitted by Kayla D. Smith on Sunday, 6/12/2011, at 7:35 PM