Katerina Russo is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A communications and political science major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post, Katerina writes about civil rights in Dublin through the lens of her internship experience with the Peter McVerry Trust.
For the CAPA Civil Rights and Inequalities Day Conference being held right here in Dublin at Griffith College (and in London and Florence via the Globally Networked Learning system), I was given the opportunity to create a poster to represent my internship at the Peter McVerry Trust. The trust is committed to reducing homelessness, the harm caused by substance misuse and social disadvantage; it ultimately seeks an Ireland that supports all those on the margins and upholds their rights to full inclusion in society. In my role as an intern, I work across the fundraising and communication departments assisting in many different tasks as the busy Christmas season is quickly approaching.
There are a variety of services that the trust provides to its participants which include prevention services, housing services, housing first, homeless services, drug treatment services, and under 18s residential services. Through the housing first model, they aim to provide a range of benefits to clients in order to facilitate their journey into mainstream society, addressing their diverse range of needs along the way. They are also strong supporters of inter agency cooperation in order to benefit clients by enhancing service delivery, increasing cost efficiencies, reducing unnecessary duplication of services and further developing opportunities for progression. In the current economic climate, as homelessness begins to reach crisis levels, it demands more than ever that we explore opportunities for greater collaboration and shared service delivery across Ireland.
The trust has also put on a variety of events to help their cause, one of which I was involved with this semester: a forum on the portrayal of homelessness in the media. The event was aimed at being able to examine the portrayal of homelessness in the media from varying perspectives, as well as how the issue is reported on and the way that homeless people are affected by this. Professor Devereux from the University of Limerick went into detail on the kind of language and imagery that is often associated with homelessness and the way that this influences the public’s understanding of the issue along with the kind of political response that is elicited as a result.
As CAPA's day conference plans to explore the topic of civil rights and inequalities through panel debates, poster presentations, short films and interactive theater, it will be an exciting opportunity to hear about the kinds of work that is being done in this field in other cities as well as the challenges that these people face. With exciting guest speakers coming all over from different parts of the world, it will surely be an event not to miss out on. I also look forward to hearing from more CAPA students who have interned for other civil rights organizations and the experiences that they have had in order to compare them with some of the thoughts that I have had myself. To see so many different CAPA sites and participants coming together for an important cause that affects people in different ways all over the world will absolutely be an unforgettable experience.
Katerina's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.