Intentional community

Internship: Frequently asked questions


How is *cino different from 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 stipends or educational awards. 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. 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, young, evolving 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. Future tasks might include working with the community garden, 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 workspace).

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What are the dates for summer internships?

The summer intern program runs from June 1-August 15. Interns are asked to move into the house by the first of June for orientation and encouraged 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 flexible for vacation, work requirements and other activities.

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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 on August 15 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 $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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Does the internship program cost anything?  Will I be required to do fundraising?

Summer interns are not required to pay an upfront fee for participating, but *cino does incur expenses for the program, including rental and utilities for the community house and staff time for education and organizing.  *culture is not optional gleans its operating income from many sources, including personal donations and fundraising events. 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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