206 Student Services Building
1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI 49401
Intern Migrant Legal Aid
Employer: Michigan Migrant Legal Aid
Description of the Organization
Migrant Legal Aid is a non-profit 501(c)3 which provides legal and advocacy work for migrant farm workers. Because of their poverty, transitory lifestyle, and language barriers, many migrant farm workers face barriers to civil legal services. They often struggle to maintain basic human dignity, from lack of bathroom facilities, dangers posed by pesticides, and discrimination. Out of this need, the Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project or Migrant Legal Aid was formed in 1973.
Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed
-Performed office duties including: answering phones, filing paperwork for attorneys, making copies, and assisted in organizing filing system -Assisted in organizing fundraisers including the Cup of Justice Golf Tournament and the Harvest of Justice Dinner -Contacted companies for donations -Designed signage for fundraising events -Assisted Head Office Administrator/Events Coordinator -Attended conferences as a representative for Migrant Legal Aid -Worked in the field assessing working and living conditions of migrant workers
Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience
Before beginning work at Migrant Legal Aid I was ignorant to the working and living conditions of the migrant workers which harvested the food that I consumed. This was an eye opening experience for me. In regards to practical work experience I learned how to use multi-line phone systems, office equipment including large office printers, filing and organizing of legal documents, and was able to improve my spanish speaking ability not only on outreach to the migrant camps, but also through answering the phones in the office.
Favorite Part of the Experience
Going on outreach to the migrant camps with the outreach coordinators was by far my favorite part of this experience. At first, it was intimidating to speak in Spanish with these migrant workers as I had only practiced in a classroom setting. After only a few weeks I began to build up my confidence and began to speak more with each outreach trip. In addition, going on outreach opened my eyes to where our food comes from and the workers who harvest it.
How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals
After my experience with Migrant Legal Aid I knew that it was important for me to either obtain a position with a non-profit or a for-profit company that assisted local non-profits. I am very pleased to announce that through the experience that I obtained working with Migrant Legal Aid I was able to obtain a position with a for-profit company in Grand Rapids that does a great deal of pro-bono work for local non-profits. In my new position I will be assisting with this pro-bono work. I will also continue to volunteer with Migrant Legal Aid whenever I can. I hope to obtain my masters in non-profit administration within the next 3 years.
All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of GVSU.
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