Intentional community

Internship: Frequently asked questions


How does *cino compare to other internship programs?

*culture is not optional is a non-profit organization that is staffed and run by volunteers and interns. The internship program is not affiliated with AmeriCorps or other service-programs, and is therefore not able to provide educational awards or loan forgiveness. Many *cino interns have obtained part-time jobs in order to cover the cost of food and transportation, and the intern house chooses to pool resources and share the cost of living. Summer *cino interns receive free housing in the Rectory, a house owned by Trinity Episcopal Church, and a living stipend. The interns come from a variety of faith backgrounds and commit to sharing their traditions while finding common ground through dialogue, shared-experiences, and service.

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What sorts of things do *cino interns do and how many hours per week are they expected to work?

One of the qualities of *cino as a small, scrappy organization is responsiveness to participants’ unique gifts, ideas, skills and creativity. *cino intern tasks are assigned at the intersection of the organization’s needs and an individual’s abilities and background. In the past, interns have organized events and fundraisers, documented the stories of *cino’s historic headquarters, researched grants, hosted service groups and attended community meetings on the organization’s behalf. In addition, interns participate in collective tasks like building maintenance and mailings. Other tasks for interns might include working with the urban farm, organizing activities for neighborhood kids and helping with *cino’s publishing efforts. Most interns have volunteered a portion of their *cino hours at a partner institution called World Fare, a non-profit fair trade store in downtown Three Rivers. Interns are asked to contribute an average of 20 hours per week to *cino tasks and schedules for these hours are set to balance individual needs (like work and family vacations) with communal needs (like special events and shared work space).

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What are the dates for summer internships? What if I need time off?

The summer intern program generally runs from the first of June through mid-August. Interns move into the community house by June 1 for staff orientation, and we are able to make arrangements for those who would like to move in early or stay later. We strongly encourage interns to commit to spending their first month in Three Rivers getting to know the small town community and beginning to sprout roots in what is, for many, an unfamiliar context. Scheduling is generally flexible for work requirements and other obligations, but our emphasis on commitment to place, even just for a summer, suggests a judicious approach to time away. We ask interns to carefully consider, plan for, and communicate needs for time off, as our common work depends on everyone’s full participation for the entire summer term. The *cino community as a whole tries to take Sundays off, and we encourage you to invite friends and family to visit you in Three Rivers. Please plan to prioritize major events like Huss Future Fest, which happens in mid-July.

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What if I want to stay on after the summer?

What has developed organically in Three Rivers out of the summer intern program is a more permanent resident community alongside the summer intern community. We are thrilled, since the need for help and creativity in Three Rivers doesn’t end when the summer interns leave! We also feel that a more stable, long term community contributes to the vision, relationships and work being done in Three Rivers. *cino rents the rectory from Trinity Episcopal Church on a year-round basis, so housing is secured. Longer term residents are encouraged to find local part-time jobs and contribute a minimum of $50 per month in rent to the church for general maintenance of the house. Starting and ending dates for longer term residents can be negotiated on an individual basis in conversation with the current resident community.

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What if I have college loans?

You may qualify for college loan deferment or forbearance. Check with your lending institution to determine if you qualify and what steps need to be taken to make this possible.

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Is this a paid internship?  Will I be required to do fundraising?

Summer interns receive free housing and a small living stipend; interns can also earn up to $2,000 by working at local partner farms for 20 hours per week. Because of these and other costs associated with the program—staff time, utilities, etc.—all interns will be asked to support fundraising events throughout the summer, especially the annual Huss Future Festival. In addition, in the spirit of collaboration and resourcefulness, we will walk through a fundraising process together that will ask us each to consider what resources we can gather to help cover the operating expenses of the intentional community and internship program. The outcome of the fundraising process may include a letter to family and friends, telling the story of your experience and requesting financial support, but it may also include other creative funding sources according to your unique imagination and skills.

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