As we enter our eighth week as Advocacy interns at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, we’re learning so much that we’ll be able to take back to John Carroll University when classes start back up for Fall semester. In our last blog post, we mentioned one particular issue we are working on as part of our internship project, but we’re also learning so much more.

Over these last few weeks we have gotten to sit in on meetings and meet people engaged in the Cleveland community. We met with the United Way of Greater Cleveland Public Relations Community of Practice, which includes employees from the Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Towards Employment, Linking Employment Abilities and Potential (LEAP), and Enterprise, among many other companies in the Cleveland area. We also got to listen to a Lutheran Services of America policy briefing conference call with LMM’s President & CEO, Andrew Genszler. Most recently, we participated in the Center for Community Solutions’ Human Services Advocacy Network event about the book Bridges Out of Poverty with the authors Phillip E. DeVol and Gene Crebs as the speakers. Finally, we met with Cleveland Councilman Basheer Jones to discuss changes in Ward 7. This meeting was very exciting and informational for us because we witnessed how LMM’s advocacy and efforts can positively affect the community.

As far as our main project goes, we are learning a lot about the child care voucher program; specifically in Cuyahoga County. Our goal is to remove or lessen the barrier of receiving child care vouchers for parents seeking education. The threshold is currently at 130 percent of poverty level, which means if a family makes over $1,760 a month, they are not eligible for free child care.

We have researched online, interviewed LMM’s Chopping for Change participants and interviewed a Cuyhaoga County employee who works in the Child Care department. We have gained valuable information from these resources, but we plan to learn more! We are currently planning an event on this topic; gathering both child care and education experts from the community. We are grateful for the opportunities we have had at LMM and look forward to the rest of our experience here!

Stay tuned for our final blog post. We only have 3 weeks left at LMM and lots to do, so we look forward to telling you about our last days here as interns!

Erin Brown and Jillian Doherty

Advocacy Interns