An Interview with Shawn

cef photoBy Jill McMahon

As an intern at CEF this summer, the highlight of my weeks was coming to Sunday’s Opportunity Class. CEF’s Sunday Opportunity Class is specifically for women at HomeStart shelter in Chapel Hill. In the hands of class facilitators Shawn and Alex, Sunday’s class is a warm, safe, and treasured space for us to come together and share our stories.

 

Shawn, a Philadelphia native, has just surpassed her one-year anniversary with working at CEF. Shawn’s journey to Chapel Hill began in 2012. After getting laid off from a job, Shawn was looking for a new start. After an extensive search of different cities up and down the East Coast, Shawn landed in Raleigh, NC. Shawn got connected with CEF when she stayed briefly at HomeStart. Shawn started to attend Opportunity Class and worked with Alex on resumes and job searches. After a month at HomeStart, Shawn landed a job at DSS and eventually, earned her job as an administrative support associate at UNC, where she works today.

 

Shawn’s positive energy and welcoming demeanor sets the tone for the inspiration and interaction we have at Opportunity Class. When I asked Shawn what CEF means to her, she responded that CEF has changed her perception of how she views the world. She feels that CEF truly cares about people and it reinforces her belief that we are all connected. No matter what our situation is, Shawn says “it does not define who we are.”

 

Shawn’s favorite aspect of opportunity class is the overall support and encouragement we all receive from attending. Shawn said, “we share things without judgment and everyone’s opinions are valid.” Shawn believes the topics we talk about in class are essential experiences. The shared connection we get from each other in that space provides an environment for growth. Getting to know Shawn and the other women from class this summer has been a great privilege. At CEF, change is facilitated through relationships. Shawn exemplifies the work of CEF through her passion for others. Shawn said, “Being able to work at CEF makes me feel good. The hardships we face are just something that we pass through on our journey in life. We all want each other to succeed.”

 

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Member Spotlight: Jasper

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 5.51.08 PMBy Sam Rains

Nine months ago, I met Jasper Washington for the first time. He was living at the IFC Homeless Shelter and trying to get a job. For four months, Jasper, Michael Caragher and I applied to any job we found online. In the midst of this time, it seemed that there would be no fruit for our labors and it became very frustrating for me.

However, Jasper was so calm one would have no idea that he did not have a job. As a college student who hears that a job leads to a career, which leads to happiness, or lack thereof, Jasper’s demeanor provided the other side of reality. My original plans rarely work the way I design them to, and I think that may be an indication of how the rest of my life will work. Seeing my guy, Jasper, come in every week with the same get-after-it mentality that is quick, but not rushed, gave me a glimpse on how to handle pressure.

Fortunately, the story does not end at stress-management techniques. Two months after school ended, I got a call from Jasper. He called to tell me he had TWO jobs. It made my week. Looking back on those six months, it doesn’t surprise me that he has moved into an apartment. His calmness derived from a confidence that everything would work itself out and that the process of getting something is more valuable than attaining one’s goals.

The most exciting part of this story, though, is the fact that I do not know anything regarding Jasper’s savings. I never helped him deposit money or set up an account. I did not know that he had an account or that he was putting money into it. He was so focused on getting to his goal that he did not need me to get him there. The lessons he learned about savings and being smart with one’s money were applied immediately. Jasper took what he had and ran with it, and has an apartment, along with a plethora of options for his future that will come sooner, rather than later.

Get to know him sometime, he cooks food in Lenoir and has to take breaks. There are numerous resources to learn from at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Jasper is one that will prove very beneficial to me after I graduate.

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Staff Reflection: A Year at CEF

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By: Sarah Cohn

The thing about working with CEF is it’s not a job. It’s not even a great job, nor is it the best job. It’s something entirely different. Working with CEF is being part of a community every day, for about eight hours (give or take some), while also doing your job. From my very first day at CEF to my last, I felt a stronger sense of community than I’ve ever felt before. Maybe it’s sharing a common dream of what all people should have, or perhaps it’s simply caring to get to know one another. All I know is there is something unique that bonds everyone in this community – advocates, members, and staff alike – with a unifying strength I hadn’t known before. (Maybe this is the “special sauce” I hear reference to at CEF board meetings…) And only in reflection have I been able to realize that above all else, above the professional skills I gained, the challenges and resulting growing experiences I had, and even above the projects I accomplished, working with CEF has given me the opportunity to know what community feels like.

I got my first taste of the CEF community the summer after my sophomore year at UNC, when I began volunteering with CEF Latin@’s small business classes. A semester later, I joined the CEF admin team as a CEF Latin@ co-coordinator, and my involvement only grew from there.  As a part of leadership, I started spending more time working with members in the office, and the more time I spent there, the more I wanted to spend. Then, during one of the many moments in the Spring of my senior year that my mind spent wrestling with what I was going to do after graduation, it became suddenly clear to me that I was not ready to leave CEF. Applying to work full-time with an organization I wanted to spend all my time with anyway seemed so right, despite my resolve to leave the town I’d grown up in. More than a year later, I can’t imagine having done anything else.

If you ask me about the job I had for the past year, the first thing that comes to mind is not a literary descriptor, but a feeling. It is a literal, physical feeling in the chest and just a hint of a feeling behind the eyes, though I may not let the latter expose itself if I can help it. And if I have to put into words what that feeling embodies, I think – I’m pretty sure – that it’s the feeling of community. So, in reflection of my past year, I feel it is only appropriate to share what the community of working with CEF feels like.

To me, community feels like knowing everyone in the room and wanting so genuinely that it’s almost overwhelming to hear about all of their most recent triumphs and struggles. It feels like wishing you could slow down time amidst the buzz of productivity to fully celebrate with someone who just signed a lease on an apartment, or to listen and talk with someone who just learned of losing their job.

Community sometimes occupies a physical space in your body, or at least it feels that way when you can sense that the woman you’ve been meeting with every week is finally starting to believe in herself, and when after she moves away you receive a message from her just to thank you for standing by her, you are suddenly made aware that the phrase “heart swell” is not just poetic.

Community feels like an unstoppable smile taking control of your cheeks when you learn of happy news for a fellow community member. And when you subsequently realize that the most joyous moments of your day, as well as the lowest ones, are now most often vicarious, you can be sure that sense of community has something to do with it.

Community also feels secure in having the strongest network of support should you need it, and the mere thought of not being a part of that network feels scary.

Technically, we’re all a part of many communities: our city or town, our neighborhood, maybe our school or family or house or team. And while these communities are important, the one I’m talking about is not concretely defined by a geographic line or even a genetic bond. I think a true community is one that is borne out of love, gratitude, and appreciation for the commonalities of all of our experiences. (In CEF-speak: It really is all about the relationships.) A true community expresses itself in every-day feelings—feelings that build and go on to change the entirety of your expectations. I didn’t know the feeling of a true community until I worked with CEF, and I’m so incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity. Knowing this feeling, I don’t think I can go back. Thankfully, I don’t have to, because community also feels like something that will never leave you behind, no matter where your next “job” takes you.

 

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Workshop on Institutional Power, Privilege, and Oppression (WIPPO)

By Nikhil Umesh and Omar Kashef

10660221_725767320828204_6081790238900184419_nFollowing two days with the Racial Equity Institute’s anti-racism workshop this past May, we left deeply moved and with a heightened sense of urgency. We feel it is necessary for CEF to not only discuss historical and ongoing racism, but begin a thorough exploration of institutional power, privilege and oppression as it relates to our communities in Durham and Chapel Hill. The initiative was Omar’s brainchild and stemmed from a project that he had been working on for the past year through his fellowship with Young People For. It was a culmination of many voices, perspectives, and ideas, and needless to say, was a long time in the making.

As CEF grows, Advocates bring a greater variety of skillsets and backgrounds to our organization. Leveraging the multiple identities and experiences we bring to our work, we posit that realizing one’s own systemic advantages and barriers will allow for a deeper understanding of the institutions that have granted and denied us access to power and resources throughout our lives.

The first Workshop on Institutional Power, Privilege, and Oppression (WIPPO) happened at Chapel Hill’s weekly general body meeting and at the last training for new Advocates. Our primary learning objective was for everyone to get acquainted with key terms (privilege, oppression, intersectionality, etc.) and frame them within commonly known systems of privilege and oppression. We touched on systems from classism to ableism to heterosexism, and discussed how they operate in everyday institutions such as housing and our healthcare system. Still, we aimed to frame our discussion not solely within the confines of CEF.

We are all implicated in these systems. There is no way around that. In discussing these issues, we try not to treat them as abstract or a sort of intellectual pursuit, which often happens in the context of a university. Rather, privilege and oppression continually manifest in our lived experience. So, we pushed beyond CEF, and incorporated tidbits on the university’s white supremacist legacy and its implication in the racialized geography of UNC’s campus. We showed a clip from a documentary by former student Laura Barrios that illuminates the “invisibilized white supremacist narrative that undergrads UNC and the wider Chapel Hill community,” calling to attention the Silent Sam monument, Saunders Hall, and Unsung Founders memorial, among others. Following the workshop, an Advocate mentioned value in highlighting the campus’ racialized geography:

“It emphasized the harm the university structure can have on perpetuating systems of oppression in this town, and that students have an obligation to mitigate or reverse those effects.”

Durham will be having their first WIPPO this upcoming Monday, Oct. 20 at their house course! The next Chapel Hill WIPPO will be held on Nov. 24 at general body, and we hope to see many folks there.

Sound awesome? Want to get involved? Have suggestions, feedback, criticisms? We would love to have you on board as we discuss and shape this workshop for Advocates in the future! Email Omar at omark@communityef.org to chime in and/or find out more.

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Come Join Us for Philosophy Time at General Body!

What’s new at CEF General Body meetings, you ask? We have started incorporating Philosophy Time into our Monday night meetings. What is Philosophy Time? This is a time during which we create an open space intended to facilitate deep contemplation and open dialogue concerning CEF’s role in the community. In the most recent Philosophy Time discussion, we talked about the links between shame and poverty. We discussed how people in poverty are shamed through institutionalized cultural perceptions and beliefs regarding what it means to be “poor.” We discussed how CEF fights against the perpetuation of these perceptions and whether CEF sometimes unintentionally propagates the feeling of shame and embarrassment that members may have.

You can check out the article here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/aug/24/research-poverty-shame-links

Here are some thoughts shared by advocates who attended our most recent philosophy time meeting:

“Philosophy time has brought meaning to our work at CEF, and allows at least myself to bring more perspective to meetings with members and relationship development.” –John Sincavage

 

Philosophy time means a lot to me because:
a) I think just considering these issues is worth so much because then you’re not fighting a battle without knowing the enemy; and I think many of these issues are the actual adversaries we’re fighting against.
b) I think we all need to look in a mirror and evaluate some times. And talking about these things give us a chance to kind of see where we fit in in the grand scheme of poverty.” –Anonymous

 

At first, I hesitated to speak because I wasn’t sure how everybody would react to my thoughts. I thought back to my high school days when people would say what was expected and not stray far from popular opinion. However, the more I listened to my team members speaking, it dawned on me that holding an unpopular opinion is not unusual. It’s typical and even encouraged to voice substantive arguments because we’re all open minded people who enjoy being challenged. In short, philosophy time may become one of my favorite aspects of CEF General Body meetings if I remember to read the article before coming to the office.” –Anonymous

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Spotlight: Meet Matt Kauffmann, CEF’s new Advocate Program Coordinator!

Matt Kauffmann

My name is Matt Kauffmann, and I am CEF’s new Advocate Program Coordinator. My primary role is to support our Advocate program in Chapel Hill, including training Advocates and pairing them with Members. I am serving in this capacity as an Americorps VISTA sponsored by North Carolina Campus Compact in partnership with the Center for Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the UNC School of Law.

        I first came to CEF as a junior transfer student to Carolina in 2010. In the first few weeks of classes, I saw a flyer in my dorm advertising a loan officer training for a student-run domestic microfinance operation. This sounded socially innovative and smart, so I went to the training. As has been well-documented on this blog, CEF was and is much more than microfinance. I spent four semesters and a summer as an advocate before graduating in 2012. Then it was off to Los Angeles to join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. There, I worked for a large homeless services agency, first as an employment services case manager and then as the staffing coordinator for the agency’s in-house social enterprise. When presented a few months ago with the opportunity to return to CEF, my first thought was that I would love nothing more.
        Why?
        Because if I were to stay in the so-called helping professions, I wanted to do work that was authentically compassionate.  Many organizations that seek to help people claim compassion as a value and motivating factor. But this is often not a psychological reality in those organizations. The philosopher Aristotle discussed compassion becoming “watery” in the context of a city where each citizen is asked to care for all. Care, he argued, is best exercised in small family groups and is predicated upon the fact that people belong to other people in a unique way. A father’s son is his and his only one (or at least one of a few). I cannot feel compassion for the entire city. The same goes for modern social service agencies. Unfortunately, the valiant effort of agencies to maximize their impact and the concomitant cult of efficency often leads to the watering down of compassion. I know from my time as a case manager tasked with assisting hundreds of clients each year that I could not care for each of those clients equally, much less devote the time and attention needed to effectively help each person. My efforts were watered down by the volume of my caseload. I imagine that many other helping professionals feel similarly.
        But at CEF, we leverage student Advocates at Duke and UNC Chapel Hill to give the necessary time and attention to our Members. Advocates are paired with members one-on-one or two-on-one. There is a sense as an Advocate that the Member you are working with is yours and your only one, to use Aristotle’s terms. This sense inspires compassion. And importantly, in an age of ever increasing inequalities in wealth and income, CEF extends our Advocates’ compassion beyond their usual social circle. I remember accompanying one of our Members, who had a serious intellectual disability, to court in Hillsborough a couple of years ago. We sat in the courtroom for a few hours until we figured out that we weren’t actually supposed to be there. Her court date had been rescheduled and the notification had been sent to her daughter’s address. I was annoyed at the situation and embarrassed that I was complacent in wasting our time. In that moment, I realized that this inconvenience was a sort of bad thing for both of us, that this situation was out of the Member’s control, and that I was just as vulnerable to being confused and having my time wasted as she was. Moreover, I realized that for this particular Member–with all the systems she has had to navigate over the course of her life–this sort of inconvenience was a normal occurrence. This realization saddened me. It is in these moments, where we’re able to walk a little ways in our Members’ shoes, that Advocates become a little more compassionate.
        With such experiences in mind, I am excited to be back and I look forward to growing with the many Members and Advocates who make up our CEF community. This year, I’ll be focusing on scaling our Advocate program to meet the increased demand for our services while maintaining our unique culture and the quality of the relationships that make us tick. In other words, I’m working to keep us from getting too “watery.”

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HOPE Gardens Potluck

By: Taylor Wall

Gardens Potluck     This past Saturday September 27th, 2014 was the Hope Gardens and CEF potluck held at HOPE Gardens. There were great people, great stories, great games, and of course great people. I must say that if you were not able to make it to this one, you really missed a treat. But don’t worry, I’ll give you a play-by-play.

It all started out in the very tranquil picnic area set in the back of HOPE Gardens that is reached by traversing through the bountiful display that is the garden itself. Those that were carrying food laid their precious cargo on the table and began preparing it for the rest of the people that would be arriving soon. It wasn’t long before more people showed up for the fun.

The fun really started when one of the attendees pulled out a toy football and began passing it around. Soon another ball was thrown into the mix and even….a frog? Yes, and he was almost unanimously dubbed “Kermit” or “Freddy” depending on who you asked. As the passing and throwing continued, everybody joined in, including hapless “victims” that walked up after the game’s initiation. The game continued for quite some time despite some minor mishaps of spilled lemonade, the sudden secession into teams, and finally those that drew the white flag to indulge in some refreshing beverages.

At this point the real hunger games commenced as the line for the food table formed and everyone took their fill of the various assortment of dishes such as the mac n cheese, tossed salad, chili, and the chocolate covered brownies. Once everybody had their plates piled with all they wanted, the dinner conversations began. I don’t know about the rest of you guys that went but our table had some pretty interesting things to talk about.

Our conversation started out with learning about someone’s trip to Ecuador to do research, a Chick-fil-A commercial and the contradictory message they are presenting (very philosophically I might add J), the goals and ambitions of the college students (and the realization that we all are just as scared and unsure about the future), the difference in reactions to snow in the North versus the South, and the UNC football team (need I say more). It was so cool to get to know people on a different level and just hang out with them outside of a structured setting. Everybody had their stories and their own input on the different topics. I can honestly say I never looked into a Chick-fil-A ad and the contradictions that they present until our mini philosophy time.

Following the very filling dinner was the essential potluck games. The options included Frisbee, soccer, hacky sack, and…kanjam? Yes kanjam. It’s the newest game that is sure to sweep the nation since it apparently and tragically has not. I had certainly never heard of it. As it was explained to me it is a lot like corn hole but with a Frisbee. So you have two plastic cans with slits about a quarter from the tope and two Frisbees. You then have two teams of two that try to score up to 21 points. If you would like to learn more about this fascinating game I would suggest researching more into it or perhaps going to the next potluck where you might can try your hand at it. It was definitely the game of choice for the day aside from playing regular Frisbee.

In the end I’m very happy that I was able to attend the first HOPE Gardens and CEF potluck of the year and had a memorable time. I would highly recommend it to anyone that is new to HOPE Gardens or CEF or just want to hang out because it is a great way to get to know people while having fun. I most definitely plan to go to the very next one and hope to see more people, more new faces, and more great food!

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CEF partnership with Duke University Office of Durham & Regional Affairs Featured in Duke Today!

CEF Durham Program Coordinator meets with Gary, our Opportunity Circles Leader, to plan class sessions

CEF Durham Program Coordinator meets with Gary, our Opportunity Circles Leader, to plan class sessions

Exciting partnership news! CEF is honored to announce a greater partnership with the Duke University Office of Durham and Regional Affairs to expand our programs and services in Durham.

See Duke Today and Durham Magazine article highlighting the partnership!

 

 

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A Series of Snapshots and Non Sequiturs All Relating to my Eight Weeks Spent at CEF

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“Are you ready?”

“No.” I gave my brother a quick hug before walking past the sign labeled, “only ticketed passengers beyond this point” in big, black letters at the Indianapolis Airport. About twenty feet later I looked back to see he had already gone, suddenly realizing for at least the next five hours I would be utterly alone, surrounded only by traveling wanderers like myself. Thinking about the summer ahead, I felt entirely unprepared walking through security, and in fact, I was.

Skip forward one week and I am sitting on my bed, sobbing because of the mistreatment of one of my members. And it wasn’t one of those quiet, beautiful images of a girl crying, her head held high with dignified tears of a broken heart. No, it was an ugly cry, sobbing in the presence of injustice, with red, puffy eyes, gasping for breath, snot coming out of your nose, convulsively sobbing because you can’t protect people from pain and you feel utterly powerless.

Two days later, I went to church for the first time in four years.

Compassion hurts. I have never dealt with anything more difficult than the compassion my soul felt this summer. From a young age, I was taught to help people whenever possible, but to be wary of the evil of the world and to protect myself, which I mainly did by sealing my heart off from the outside. CEF challenges that. As a full-time advocate, it asked for more than my help. It asked that I put myself in situations I’ve never been in, to feel emotions I’ve heard about, but never truly felt, and to solve problems I’ve never faced before. In short, it asked for honest and unfettered compassion for others and it hurt more than I could imagine. It required me to be emotionally raw and available to people in order to build trust and friendship, yet to be empty enough to maintain productive value in the face of some of the world’s prettiest and ugliest moments in order to accomplish the goals set in front of me and to be helpful to others. It’s a balance I still haven’t quite managed to strike.

Two weeks later, I received a phone call in the office from a member who wanted to thank me specifically for helping him find a job after eight months of being unemployed. I was overjoyed.

Community Empowerment Fund is the first organization I’ve worked with that I actually, truly believe is changing the world and making progress towards eradicating poverty. I saw it happen every day.

A few days later a friend rushed in to tell me good news about a person we had been working with and gave me a huge, spontaneous hug. For the first time, I felt like an established and contributing member of the CEF community. Later that week, I went to lunch with a member and friend, knowing I had been accepted as part of her individual community as well.

I knew I would grow this summer. That’s what everyone told me when I shared my summer plans; that’s why I wanted to come down here in the first place. Growth was a fact. Even so, it took me by surprise. Because I haven’t grown up. I haven’t grown out. I don’t feel more mature or more competent. If anything, I am more aware of the fact that there’s a whole lot out there in the world that I don’t understand, but am hungry to experience. Still, I grew.

I grew in. I grew through. I wove myself into the fabric of CEF. I grew, or rather am still growing, independently of my home, separately from my former situations. I can feel myself changing from, “Katelyn, the Lend for America Intern” to “Katelyn”, no qualifier needed. The whole time I thought I was absorbing my surroundings, then one day I woke up, realizing my surroundings had absorbed me. And it is the most beautiful feeling in the world.

The next week a new member I was working with stormed out of a meeting after only twenty minutes because the system was different than she expected and I couldn’t help her as quickly as she wanted. I sat there stunned and guilty, helpless in the face of her adversity.

CEF has taught me that humans are not easily broken. In fact, they’re remarkably resilient and adaptable. It takes quite a lot to break the human spirit. The same cannot be said about life; life is so very fragile. It can be twisted and manipulated by outside pressures and by the people living it. Year after year of a burned life can diminish the human form to pain and reduce the human spirit to anxiety and instinct. But CEF has shown me it doesn’t take much to elevate the human spirit. A kind word, attentiveness, willingness to help. An infusion of optimism. It brings people back to the present moment. The real trouble lies in improving quality of life. I don’t yet know what to make of that, aside from the very obvious conclusion that people deserve your kindness and help whenever you are able (which is always) and whenever they are willing (which, unfortunately, isn’t).

Ten days later, someone I had been working with all summer told me she trusted me and I couldn’t understand why.

CEF pushed me to be ready for any and all situations- ordinary, bizarre, and brilliant alike.

And now I’m approaching my last week here at CEF, having my heart broken multiple times (in a good way) by more than one person who has told me I need to transfer to UNC and to relocate to Chapel Hill so I can stay with CEF longer. Instead, I find myself saying goodbye to my friends, people who I have come to love and admire more fervently than I thought possible in eight short weeks. I find myself in the difficult situation of having roots grown in two completely different parts of the country, and being thankful, so very thankful, to have had experienced something wonderful enough to make leaving this hard.

This isn’t a “goodbye”, Chapel Hill. It’s a “see you later”.

Until next time,

With love,

Katelyn

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Interview with Doug and Katelyn

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Since mid June, CEF has been brightened by the eager spirits and tireless efforts of Doug Chan and Katelyn McCarthy, our Lend for America (LFA) Fellows. Both jumped right into CEF. If this were the Summer Olympics, they would have received top scores for their seamless dives into the program. Summer intern Lucy Manning sat down with Doug and Katelyn over a meal of Cosmic Cantina to talk about first impressions, memorable experiences, why they are here, and what they have learned in their time as Lend for America Fellows.

To start, Doug and Katelyn are here through an organization called Lend for America, a group that supports students who are starting their own campus microfinance institutions (Campus MFIs). [Quick term breakdown: An MFI is any group that provides financial services on a small scale. A campus MFI is an MFI run and/or started by students]. The fellowship gives them a stipend to participate in the operations of one of three MFIs (CEF being one), and to absorb and learn what it takes to be successful in this sector. As Doug said, “Part of the LFA Fellowship is learning from the very best, which is CEF.” So for those of you who didn’t know, CEF is a pretty big deal: one of the best and most successful organizations of its kind. People from outside of Chapel Hill and Durham have heard about us. Doug knew about us his senior year of high school! In fact, he almost went to UNC for the opportunity to work with CEF.

Both were shocked by the emotional strength required for work at CEF. They had very wise insights on the balance between emotional attachment and productivity.

Katelyn McCarthy will be a sophomore at Indiana University, majoring in Economic Consulting and Sustainable Practice, and is part of a budding MFI called Hoosier Social Impact Fund. She chose CEF to go out on a limb, travel to the distant land of North Carolina, and experience a culture different than the one in which she was raised. Despite any differences between the Midwest and the South, Katelyn sees universal truths she has learned here that can be applied back home. She was most struck by the strong bonds between Members and Advocates, and how quickly these bonds can be formed. Katelyn recognized early on that the relationships formed were more than client relationships. When asked what elements of CEF she will take home to HSIF, Katelyn mentioned the organizational culture, and the particular terminology (member, advocate, team leader, etc.) that creates an inclusive environment, fuels volunteers’ passion, and motivates them to keep coming back.

Doug Chan will be a third-year (junior) at the University of Virginia, and is studying Finance and Economics. Through a social entrepreneurship class, Doug and two others created Community Honor Fund, which is focused on providing financial services to UVA employees. Doug is particularly passionate about solving the problem of predatory payday loans, and hopes to offer a better alternative. Doug pointed out a great aspect of CEF in our conversation about what he will take back to UVA and Community Honor Fund: he heralded the focus on the client, and has learned that the outcomes that are most important to the client should also be the most important and central to the organization. In addition, he noted the relevance of an organization being the best at what it does. As he said, if someone else does what we want to do better than we do, then we ought to be giving our money to support them.

Thank you Doug and Katelyn for everything you have done and will continue to do with the rest of your time at CEF! We wish you all the best in your endeavors!

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