L-R: Interns Malcolm Tychie and Colman Brown encounter Bishop John Chapman during the second session of the Anglican Diocese of Ontario Youth Internship Program. Submitted photo

Ottawa Youth Internship Program spurs community engagement

In late 2017, the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa secured funding for the next session of its Youth Internship Program. Running from January to June 2018, the session will mark the third cohort in an ongoing initiative that has garnered attention from Anglicans across the country.

Since its first session in the first half of 2016, the Youth Internship Program has provided paid work experience, faith formation, and development of leadership skills for 14 young participants, helping cement bonds between youth, the church, and the community.

“The success of our program I believe to be the building of the relationships,” coordinator Donna Rourke said.

“We model really collaborative relationship building and community engagement within our churches and our communities. Everything we do in the program is to empower our youth to be the leaders of tomorrow, both in our churches and in our communities.”

Participants in the program are youth enrolled in Grade 11 or 12 or attending their first year of university or college. Working in a parish or with one of the diocese’s community partners such as KAIROS, Habitat for Humanity, or the local food bank, interns are able to accumulate considerable work experience in a safe and supportive environment.

Currently in his first year at Carleton University, Malcolm Tychie was a student at Nepean High School when he learned about the Youth Internship Program from a presentation by Rourke at All Saints Anglican Church.

“I thought it was pretty cool and a good chance to get a job like my mom was asking, so I signed up and was lucky enough to get a position,” Tychie recalled. “I’m pretty glad that happened.”

Joining the second cohort in the program that ran from September 2016 to June 2017, Tychie worked at Trinity Anglican Church as their community engagement coordinator. His responsibilities included writing email newsletters for the community as well as writing Facebook posts to keep people engaged in what was going on around the church.

Over the course of his internship he made valuable connections with fellow interns, his supervisor Kiersten Jensen, and Rourke—who as part of the program helps coach interns on important job skills, such as how to behave during an interview.

“It was a very nice experience,” Tychie said of his internship. “I met a lot of really great people there and it was really interesting. It exposed me to another church community … I love the community I’m in, but it was very nice to experience a different one … It gave me a real chance to explore different aspects of the church that I hadn’t really thought about so much.”

“For example, the music program … When I went to Trinity, they have a proper organ rather than a little box one. Their organ player is excellent … and the choir is great too. So it gave me a new appreciation for the music program.”

Tychie’s cohort enjoyed additional features of the program, following feedback from the first session. These included Christian mentors and monthly faith formation, in which interns can speak with a three-person clergy team about their individual faith journeys.

Following the conclusion of the third session in June, the next session of the Ottawa Youth Internship Program will take place from September 2018 to June 2019. The Diocese of Ottawa will begin accepting applications for the fourth session this year with active recruitment taking place in March and April.

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