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Agency chooses 11 young people for internships in D.C.

May 10, 2006

By Kathy L. Gilbert*

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Eleven young people have been selected as the 2006 United Methodist Board of Church and Society Ethnic and Young Adult summer interns.

The interns will be in the nation’s capital June 4-Aug. 1. Interns live together and are assigned to work in organizations addressing social justice concerns. The work is supplemented by evening intern-led devotions, Friday seminars on topics of timely social justice concern, field trips and Sunday worship in area United Methodist churches.

The internship has been sponsored by the board for the last 20 years and has at least 200 participants who either now lead the church in some way or influence society in their vocations, says the Rev. Neal Christie, executive with the Board of Church and Society.

Agnes Poveda, a student at Florida International University in Miami and a member of United Wesley Hispanic Methodist Church, is excited she was chosen for a 2006 internship.

“My pastor sent me an e-mail (about the program), and when I read it I thought, ?Wow this would really be an awesome experience’ and I really wanted to do it,” she says.

At first she didn’t apply because she works and wasn’t sure she could get the time off. Her boss was understanding and supportive. “I talked to my boss and she gave me the time off,” she says. “Then I started praying.”

Christie says the essay Poveda wrote about immigration helped her get into the program.

“Her compelling personal essay on immigration is more than appropriate during this time, and she shows immense sensitivity and concern for our nation’s current situation,” Christie says.

Being an immigrant from Cuba “kind of defines who I am,” Poveda says. In her essay, she writes about America being the land of freedom and a place where people come to live out their dreams.

“Immigrants come to the United States because they are going through economic hardships in their country,” she says. “They come here with a dream. Most have been here a long time, they pay taxes and don’t have a chance to become citizens and I don’t think that is fair. As a Christian I believe in justice and I believe in this country.”

Poveda says she applied for the internship because of her family. “We all came from Cuba and I am pretty much the only one who is making a career here,” she says. “It is really important to them for me to be something and to do something in life.”

Her mother became a Methodist in Cuba when Poveda was 3 years old. “I have been a Methodist ever since,” she says. “I know I can make a difference. God has been with me every step of the way.”

The Ethnic and Young Adult summer interns program is open to young adults ages 18-22 representing the five ethnic caucuses of the United Methodist Church — Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and Pacific Islander.

“Please keep them in your prayers as they prepare to live and work in Christian community many miles from their homes,” Christie asks. 

The 2006 United Methodist Board of Church and Society Ethnic and Young Adult summer interns are:

  • Joe Kim, 20, a student at the University of Michigan majoring in English and political science. He is from the East Ohio Annual Conference.
  • William Seo, 21, a student at State University of New York at Binghamton studying political science/pre-law. He is from the New York Annual Conference.
  • Aloise McCullough, 18, attends Tulsa (Okla.) Community College and is studying mass communications/journalism. She is from the Oklahoma Annual Conference.
  • Militoni Toetu’u, 18, attends the University of Hawaii and is majoring in engineering. He is from the California-Pacific Annual Conference.
  • Massiel Wingeier-Rayo, 21, attends Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C., and is majoring in religious studies and political science. She is from the Western North Carolina Annual Conference.
  • Agnes Poveda, 19, attends Florida International University, Miami, and is majoring in political science. She is from the Florida Annual Conference.
  • Lupe Maka, 20, attends Chaminade University of Honolulu and is studying criminal justice. She is from the California-Pacific Annual Conference.
  • Xochitl Garcia, 18, attends Hendrix College, Conway, Ark., and is majoring in religion/philosophy. Garcia is from the Rio Grande Annual Conference.
  • Monica Michelle White, 20, attends Howard University, Washington, and is majoring in public relations, political science. She is from the Rio Grande Annual Conference.
  • Lydia Baek, 20, attends Oxford College of Emory University in Atlanta and is from the West Michigan Annual Conference.
  • Sade Marie Young, 20, attends California State University, Hayward Ethnic Studies. She is from the California-Nevada Annual Conference.   

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or

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