The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is looking for the next generation of leaders to apply for the Hope Corps, a high school internship program that helps students develop leadership skills while serving the community.
The 12-week long internship runs from Jan. 23 through April 24, but the lessons participants learn last a lifetime.
“Fighting hunger, Feeding hope” is more than a motto for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma; it is a lifestyle. What graduates of the Hope Corps internship take away is giving back.
Hope Corps graduate Joshua Miller said, “I got to see kind of the face of hunger in Oklahoma and hear the stories of those clients, so I wanted to get involved on a deeper level.”
Miller completed not one, but two Hope Corps internships, and after graduating high school in spring 2017, he decided to become a full-time volunteer coordinator for the Food Bank. He said the Hope Corps broke him out of the shell of a shy kid and molded him into a leader.
“You put me in front of a camera or you told me to go in front of a group of people and talk about fighting hunger or try to lead them in a volunteer shift, and that would have never happened,” Miller said of his younger self.
Not everyone follows the same path, but all the interns are exposed at a young age to a real problem facing many Oklahomans.
Food Bank spokesperson Cathy Nestlen said, “They’re not reading an article about hunger in Oklahoma. They’re literally seeing hunger in Oklahoma and seeing the impact they can have in just a two or two-and-a-half-hour shift.”
Hope Corps is open to kids aged 16 to 18, and each week, they are required to spend four hours at the Food Bank, overseeing volunteer shifts and measuring the impact of their work to combat hunger.
Miller said, “It’s always good to get that perspective into what the organizations in your community are doing and what the people in your community are struggling with. That way you can always be an advocate for those people.”
Applicants must also provide a reference letter from someone who can talk about the student’s leadership experience.
The deadline to apply is Jan. 8. To reach the online application, click here.