Joanna Krawczyk, Community Engagement Internship

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Civic House is My House: Meet Joanna Krawczyk!

Civic House: Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Joanna: Hi! I am Joanna, and I am going to be a senior at Penn double majoring in Biology and Nutrition from Biglerville, Pennsylvania. This summer, I am interning with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger through Civic House's Community Engagement Internship program, focusing on their summer meals work and helping to run a Summer Meals Pilot Site for the Coalition. I got my interest in nutrition education and outreach in high school, when I was the Pennsylvania State Apple Queen and was lucky enough to represent the apple marketing industry and teach kids nutrition and sustainable agriculture.

CH: What work or issues does The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger focus on? What has your role as an intern been so far?

Joanna: The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger is an anti-hunger organization that fights hunger in the area using a three pronged approach. The first prong is helping people with immediate food relief and through supporting pantries, the second prong is helping people receive all of the SNAP benefits they are eligible for, and the third prong is advocacy work to ensure that legislation passed helps support the anti-hunger movements. As an intern, my role so far has primarily been building capacity in the extent of the outreach that they can do, especially in the 19104 zip code where Penn is located, and I was also able to help plan a summer meals pilot site for the coalition that ran the week of June 27 to July 1. 

CH: What first sparked your interest in community service and social justice?

Joanna: In high school, my experiences teaching nutrition sparked my interest in community service relating to health and food security, and at Penn, I found ways to support organizations doing the same type of work when I did the pre-orientation program PennGreen. During PennGreen, I got to meet individuals from the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative, an organization that I have had the chance to work with since starting at Penn that also focuses on eradicating food insecurity in Philadelphia, but primarily through building a community of high school student leaders throughout the city. This organization sparked my interest in pursuing food justice work further, and hence my application for the Community Engagement Internship.

CH: What has been a highlight of your Community Engagement Internship experience thus far?

Joanna: The highlight of my experience thus far has definitely been running the summer meals site in Olney - it was an incredible opportunity to go to a community that truly benefits from this type of outreach and be able to see the difference you are making in a kid's day. I was also able to utilize some of the things that I learned when I was apple queen, and I even utilized a lesson plan that I used to use that teaches the importance of taking care of our planet through the use of an apple. It was very effective and rewarding to get to talk to the parents about a lot of the work the Coalition does that can help support their families while also getting to feed the kids and promote nutrition and healthy eating.