What does it mean to create opportunities in Catholic ministries for all generations of our faith? Catholic Community Connection and its partners have been working to answer just that. 

Over the past few months in discussions, meetings and workshops we have been working towards a model of collaboration that creates more volunteer, service learning and internship opportunities for students from our Catholic colleges and university in our Catholic ministries. We call this our “pipeline.” While still in development, we have seen successes along the way. Two of those successes are students; Courtney Fallon from John Carroll University and Peggy Fryer from Ursuline College. Courtney and Peggy recently completed a summer semester internship sponsored by Catholic Community Connection and had nothing but positive experiences to relay.

Courtney interned under the supervision of Barb Bushman, the Director of Fund Development for Cleveland Catholic Charities. “I had been talking for several years about needing an intern” said Barb, “we get a lot of grant proposals in this office and it can get overwhelming sometimes.” Courtney, a senior at John Carroll University, came with a Marketing and Sports Administration background, but it was her particular interest in non-profits and writing that made her an invaluable asset. “I’ve always had an interest in non-profits and would love to work that into my career someday,” said Courtney.

During her summer internship Courtney read and edited grant proposals, aided in various research tasks and completed a grant proposal from start to finish. In addition, because of her background in marketing she assisted the Director for Marketing and Communications on the annual report. Through this experience she was afforded the opportunity to visit many of the Catholic Charities sites and interview their directors and clients.

“The experience was incredible,” said Courtney, “It was such an eye-opening experience for me, working in sports is a completely different industry, [through this internship] I realized there’s a whole other world out there. I was able to work with all different kinds of people and the skills it taught me were very transferrable. I’m so glad I took the internship and delved into something new.”

Peggy Fryer had a similarly great experience. Peggy was looking for a Healthcare Informatics internship. She contacted Hannah Hardy, the Coordinator of Experiential Education at Ursuline College, who spoke to our office to see if we knew of any connections. A connection was made at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, and after speaking with the Director of Informatics they came up with a plan for Peggy’s internship.

“I was interested in seeing the whole scope of the department and how it works,” said Peggy. She was afforded a variety of experiences from working at the help desk and taking calls, to assisting with carts and computers on each floor, to working with physician assistants to set up and build accounts in their EMR system. “I learned a lot working there about what goes on behind the scenes in the IT Department of a hospital” said Peggy. “The most impactful thing I learned was discovering how instrumental that department is in a hospital organization. Everyone there was so nice and they taught me so much so it was an extremely positive experience for me.”

These were extremely positive experiences, not only for Courtney and Peggy who deem it to have shaped the path of their future careers, but also for the partner organizations that benefited from the assistance of these two interns. It is our hope that Catholic Community Connection can continue building this pipeline and creating more positive experiences for students like Courtney and Peggy.

If you would like to contribute to our Intergenerational Opportunities efforts in any way, please contact Sr. Joanne Gross at jgross@sistersofcharityhealth.org.