Political science senior interning with nonprofit that serves immigrants, refugees
Hannah Roebuck is a senior double major in religious studies and political science. With a passion for helping those who have immigrated to America, she’s interning with a non-profit that serves the global community in Atlanta neighborhoods. She has plans to go to graduate school and earn a degree in immigration studies, and her internship is helping her get a feel for her future career. We caught up with her to learn more about what inspired her to apply for this unique internship.
Where are you interning?
Refuge Coffee Co. is a 501c3 non-profit with two locations in Georgia: one in Clarkston and one in the Sweet Auburn area in Atlanta. Refuge exists to serve the global community in and around Clarkston through coffee-related job creation, job training, social networking, and commerce. Refuge believes in the resilience of our refugee neighbors, and they see incredible strength in their baristas and trainees. The goal at Refuge Coffee Co. is to join in the task of empowering refugees, migrants, and immigrants to use their many gifts to create welcome and refuge.
What are your internship duties?
My main role at Refuge Coffee Co. this summer was to help plan and organize the largest fundraising event of the year: Shop Refuge. Shop Refuge looks very different this year due to COVID-19, but nonetheless, Shop Refuge is an event that directly serves the Clarkston community by providing quality, secondhand clothing for $2 per item. We had to rethink almost everything about the event—location, format, timeline, etc.—but we have a steady commitment to our neighbors. On July 25th in Clarkston, we had a day of socially distanced and controlled shopping, great coffee, local food, and plenty of music. Outside of Shop Refuge, I also help serve the trainees at Refuge Coffee by establishing community and business connections in Atlanta, creating a resource guide with local social services and programs, and assisting with job training and GED tutoring.
What are you learning through your internship?
Through my internship at Refuge Coffee Co., I have learned how to plan a large scale, community-centric, culturally competent event in the middle of an ever-worsening pandemic. I have learned how to come alongside resettled people and families in a life-giving and honoring way. I have learned how to support refugees seek their GED through weekly tutoring and mentorship. I have learned how to create and maintain a nonprofit culture of feedback, challenge, and support. I have learned to sit in the tension of pain and hope alongside my neighbors. Most importantly, I have learned the power of “Welcome.”
Why did you /what inspired you to apply to your internship?
I was inspired to apply for this internship because I have a deep desire to serve the refugee, migrant, and immigrant communities in our country. I am a double major in political science and religious studies with the primary goal of engaging in advocacy and policy work for refugees, migrants, and immigrants. I grew up 15 minutes away from Clarkston, Georgia, where Refuge Coffee Co. is located, and I have followed and supported them since they opened five years ago. I believe in the Welcome movement they are leading. I support the sustainable community development they practice, and I appreciate the commitment they have to disrupting the status quo. I also deeply admire the refugees, migrants, and immigrants that work at Refuge as people and as friends.
How will this internship benefit you for your future career/collegiate plans?
Tentatively, I plan to get a master’s degree in refugee and migration studies, so this internship puts me in an appropriate place to pursue that area of study. This internship gave me insight into the nonprofit side of advocacy in this area, and I am incredibly grateful.