Hi everyone! My name is Emma Arrighi.
This summer I will be interning in LMM’s Department of Advocacy. I was born and raised in the Cleveland area, first in Fairview Park and now in Strongsville. This fall, I will be entering my junior year of college at John Carroll University in University Heights.
At John Carroll, I am double majoring in History and English with a literature concentration. I love to read and am a strong writer, so on campus I work at our Grasselli Library and in JCU’s Writing Center. Since coming to college, my passion for social justice has only grown, which is why I am involved with our campus chapter of the Ohio Innocence Project and serve as the communications coordinator for our LGBTQ+ and Allies Club. It is not just these clubs that have grown my passion for social justice, however.
John Carroll itself is a university built on the Jesuit values of lifelong learning and serving others, which has inspired me to actually get out into the world and work with communities impacted by the issues I’ve learned about in my classes, like homelessness, hunger, and incarceration. Last summer, and for a few weeks during winter break, my grandpa and I volunteered at the Muni Lot with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, where food is distributed every week to those who need it. During this past school year, I took part in service at International Newcomers Academy in Cleveland, helping high school aged students learning English to complete their homework. One of the things I found most rewarding was when a student I had worked with previously consistently returned to me for help. It is incredibly important to me to build relationships with the people I am serving so that they know there is someone looking out for them and so that I know the effects our policies have on real people.
My university’s commitment to serving others is most evident in our Center for Service-Learning and Social Action (CSSA), which coordinates classes with a service component, provides regular opportunities to all students for service, and sponsors the internship program that I am a part of. CSSA’s program is called Summer in the City, and each summer a cohort of interns from John Carroll are placed at various organizations in Cleveland that in some way serve the community like LMM, NEOCH, and Joseph’s Home. Students are matched with an organization that corresponds with issues they are interested in and work with them for 10 weeks. I was thrilled when I found out that I would be placed with LMM because of my interest in working with those facing food insecurity and those who have been incarcerated.
LMM’s reentry programs especially excite me, because I have done research for previous classes about ways to improve the reentry experience. Before I started working at John Carroll’s Writing Center, I had to write a literature review concerning writing centers and a social justice issue of my choice. I chose to look into the implementation of writing centers in prisons. While conducting my research, I found that having access to writing assistance while behind bars could ease the reentry process by giving incarcerated people the skills to write resumes, to write to parole boards, and to express themselves more freely and articulately. Through this project and various classes I’ve taken in high school and college, I have learned about reentry and other issues theoretically, but have had less opportunities to work with and for the populations that are affected.
I am so excited for this summer at LMM because by working the Office of Advocacy, I have the chance to create and uplift programs and policies that will improve the lives of the unhoused, the hungry, and those re-entering society. I am so incredibly grateful for the unique opportunity to gain professional experience while also getting to advocate on behalf the marginalized. I cannot wait to get started on my research project and to give any assistance I can to LMM. I hope that when the summer is over, my experience here will have enriched both my life and LMM as an organization.