Finding a Home and Community at Thrive DC
Intern Spotlight: Noemi

When Noemi came to Thrive DC on Thursdays it was the warm atmosphere, the services, the clients, and the friendly staff and volunteers that brought back home for her. For Noemi, being a social service intern at Thrive DC was a community and a family away from home.

Noemi is currently a Junior at American University studying International Relations with a concentration in development and equality. She grew up in Chicago in a culturally mixed household with a Guatemalan mom and a white dad, but the Guatemalan culture and speaking Spanish at home was a big part of Noemi’s life growing up.

When she was looking for internship opportunities this past summer, she found Thrive. Thrive stood out to her because she knew she would be doing work that mattered. She wasn’t looking for an office job filing papers and answering phone calls; she was looking for an opportunity to give back and make a difference, and she found that at Thrive DC.

Thrive reminded her of the church she grew up going to in Chicago. Located in a neighborhood very similar to Columbia Heights, the church was a place for those experiencing homelessness to escape the cold and get a hot meal. Every night the basement of the church would be converted into a shelter with sleeping bags, and her cousins would make big meals to serve to those who came. When she came to Thrive DC as an intern, it was like stepping right back into the church she grew up with.

At Thrive, Noemi was mainly in charge of checking in clients at our weekly grocery distribution. Since our clients are largely Spanish-speaking, Noemi was able to connect to clients and got to know the people personally. From the start Noemi felt welcomed by friendly staff and smiling clients and even though her internship is now over, she still comes back when she has the time to volunteer with her Thrive family.