Rockhurst interns work for $20,000 in grants during their internshipsSeptember 18, 2012

Internships are usually a time for students to get their feet wet at a future job. But for two Rockhurst University students in the nonprofit leadership program, their time as interns was used to make a huge impact for their organizations.

As interns, Haley Long, Lenexa, Kan., senior, and Josh Goralski, Naperville, Ill., junior, managed to each secure $10,000 grants to improve their respective organizations.

Long spent two semesters in a 300-hour internship for the Mental Health America of the Heartland in Kansas City, Mo. MHAH strives to promote better mental health of the community and improve the lives of persons with mental illness through advocacy, education and support. It was during Long’s second semester internship that she was asked to write a grant to help upgrade the technology at MHAH. The grant, $10,000 from the Victor E. Speas Foundation, upgraded the organization’s 10-year-old voice mail system and allowed MHAH to switch to voice over IP telephones.

“This was the most fulfilling experience I’ve had throughout my internship,” Long said. “I know that MHAH is an important organization in our community, and especially in the field of mental health.  This grant will enable the organization to continue helping people in the Kansas City area and beyond.”

Over the summer, Goralski spent his time in Geneva, Ill., at the Northern Illinois Food Bank, an affiliate of Feeding America. In fiscal year 2012, the food bank distributed more than 40 million pounds of food to more than 500,000 people. Part of Goralski’s intern duties included researching funding sources that would be a good fit for the organization. Through this research, he discovered that Pioneer Hi-Bred Corporation had recently restructured its corporate giving program. Its U.S. Food Security Grant appeared to be a good fit with the food bank’s Take 50 Food for Health Initiative, which would allow the food bank’s clients access to healthy food options, such as brown rice and whole grain pasta. During his last week at the food bank, the check for the full amount of the grant came in the mail.

The grant will allow the food bank to provide an additional 30,000 nutritious meals to clients in an effort to reduce their risk of diabetes, obesity, and other diet-related diseases.

“This was a pleasant surprise to everyone there because the Food Bank staff had been having a hard time funding this program,” Goralski said.

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