Reflections: Summer Intern Emma Horwath

by Emma Horwath, Summer 2017 Intern, Notre Dame

What makes a community thrive?  That’s a question that Hopeprint is constantly asking.  What makes a community, a person, a family succeed, not just in surviving, but also in living?  Is it money?  That is a big question that so many charitable organizations wrestle with.  However, I think that kinship and relationships with the community, and investing in things that will come back with interest are much more important.  

With the first two weeks of programming behind us, we were able to witness some amazing things, especially moments that made a difference in the eyes of a child.  One of those moments, for me, was when I saw little Yvette start talking with some of the other girls in camp and participate in our pledge the third day into program.  Earlier in the week, Yvette wouldn’t do any of the group activities and very rarely would she talk, even to me.  Having camp and spending time with all of these children really does make a difference, whether it be in stepping out of their comfort zone or fostering a belief that the kids can do anything, be anything they want.  These moments are invaluable.  Save for a time investment, they do not cost a thing.  Kinship and being in community with one another is just one of the many elements that go into the thriving of a human being.  Personal relationships and that human connection are so important. 

Something that often grows out of those personal relationships is being a role model or mentor to children.  Every small thing that we do for them [and the people around us] has the power to make a very big difference in their lives.  One of the small things that I like to do, as the official ‘maker of snacks’ for the summer, is to provide fruit and vegetables for the kids to eat.  With only $10, we can buy celery, carrots and sliced apples to provide our kids a healthy meal.  With only $10, we can hopefully encourage and promote a love for fruits and vegetables and a desire for healthy habits.  

Having the money to provide healthy foods is not the only thing that determines a successful community.  While it certainly helps, it is the community itself and what it can do together that is the more telling.  I think that its the relationships that are the foundation for a thriving community.