Developing Skills and Gifts

Monday, December 9, 2019

Group of students posing for a photo

By Stephanie Schreuders, Master of Peace and Conflict Studies

This summer, I participated in the PACS 625 Internship course and had the incredible opportunity to work alongside the Refugee Resettlement team at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Kitchener, Ontario. As the Refugee Program Assistant, I worked with sponsorship groups across Ontario who were preparing and welcoming refugees from around the world to their communities. During the pre-arrival stage of refugee sponsorship, I ensured the required paperwork and financial requirements were met and assisted in facilitating pre-arrival orientation trainings with the sponsorship groups. After arrival, I helped to support those groups in whatever settlement needs arose during their year of sponsorship. Not only was I able to experience refugee sponsorship at the local level, I was also able to participate in meetings and workshops at a national level. MCC provided an environment that challenged me, encouraged me, and allowed me to develop my skills and gifts. 

In the MPACS program, we study the great potential that individuals within civil society have to make lasting and effective change in their communities. My internship at MCC enabled me to take the concepts from my classes and wrestle with them in a practical way at a large non-profit organization, seeing first-hand the power of civil society to work towards peace. One of the highlights of my internship was organizing MCC’s first-ever newcomer camping weekend. We partnered with Silver Lake Mennonite Camp and took 83 newcomers and sponsors camping. For many newcomers, it was their first time experiencing this Canadian tradition, and everyone said they couldn’t wait to come again. I highly recommend the MPACS Internship course. It’s a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience and build on what you learn in the classroom.