Welcome, Bemnet

We’re excited to welcome Bemnet Bekele, who is joining us as one of our Fall 2023 Interns. Bemnet will be graduating Millersville University in May of 2024 with a Master of Social Work. 

What inspired you to choose a Social Work major?

The spark that ignited my passion for social work came from a deep sense of empathy and a desire to positively impact the lives of vulnerable individuals and communities. Growing up, I witnessed various forms of social injustice and inequality that left a lasting impression on me.

One particular moment stands out as the turning point in my decision to pursue social work. I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local homeless shelter during my high school years. Interacting with the residents and hearing their stories of hardship and resilience touched my heart profoundly. During this experience, and many others, I realized the transformative power of social work in addressing systemic issues and providing support to those in need.

As I continued to explore social work through internships and coursework, I was inspired by the dedicated professionals who tirelessly advocated for social justice, equality, and the well-being of individuals and families. Witnessing their commitment to fostering positive change reinforced my determination to follow this path.

Ultimately, what inspired me to choose social work was the belief that everyone deserves a chance at a better life, and I am passionate about being a part of that journey, advocating for marginalized populations, and working towards a more equitable society.

What projects will you do during your internship at Touchstone Foundation?

The three areas I will focus on during my time here are youth mentorship program development, Community Connections-Micro-Grants for youth mental wellness, and assisting with the student symposium planning.

How will these projects prepare you for the future?

My ultimate aspiration is to engage in the implementation of policies and programs. My time at Touchstone will be incredibly valuable, as it will give me the opportunity to delve into these various aspects. This internship will provide me with the chance to explore how the nonprofit sector collaborates with the community and how programs receive funding. Overall, it will enable me to gain insights into the execution of local policies and their potential applicability on a global level.

What do you hope to learn through this internship?

Touchstone is really connected with the community they serve. So I hope to get insight on how to build partnerships and empower the community to invest in the youth.

What would you like your career focus to be after graduation?

I recently started as the Talent Search Financial Caseworker at Millersville University. In this role, I assist students in grades 6 to 12 from ten different schools and their families in understanding the financial aspects of preparing for college. Additionally, I will be leading workshops for families to inform them about available resources tailored to their specific household needs. Looking ahead, my goal after graduating is to carry on with these efforts and explore ways to enhance our support for the community’s needs.

Tell us something interesting or exciting about yourself.

As a student at Millersville, I serve as the President of Social Justice Beyond Borders, an international student organization focused on advocating and removing barriers to access to the basic needs of college students, forming community partnerships, and providing a safe platform to discuss innovative solutions for student concerns.

In 2020, we had the opportunity to collaborate with Moi University students to design and collect data related to food insecurities being experienced by students on their campus. Based on our research a small group of us were able to travel to Kenya to present at an international conference. The opportunity to present our findings at an international conference in Kenya was truly thrilling. Starting with our independent research and then sharing our discoveries on a global stage felt remarkable.

Bemnet can be reached at intern2@touchstonefound.org