After my summer nutrition internship with Mother Hubbard’s, I have grown passionate about increasing the access to healthy foods through all wonderful services this organization provides. I instantly knew I wanted to interview this organization after witnessing the passion displayed by everyone working there. I would always catch staff members saying “I love my job” at unique moments in time so it’s my pleasure to explain why it’s an organization to love through the perspective of Stephanie Solomon.
Interview with Stephanie Solomon: Director of Community and Outreach
What do you do as a Director of Education and Outreach?
I oversee our education programs which are garden, nutrition, and tool share, as well as launching an outreach and advocacy program. Some of the time, I’m teaching nutrition/gardening workshops, or doing demos in the food pantry.
How long have you served under that position?
It’s been a couple years. I started as assistant director seven years ago. I was looking for a position where I could really focus on environmental issues as well as food justice issues. This was an ideal fit for me because the way I focus on environmental issues has always been through community gardening and access to healthy, local food.
What led you to working for a nonprofit?
I had a position through Service Learning as an ACE and I was working with the Center for Sustainable Living but then moved to Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, and worked under a director who was really passionate about organic gardening and youth gardening. The Food Bank and Middle Way House were both nonprofits that I worked for and knew before service learning. I don’t have any more than an undergraduate degree; I didn’t go to SPEA or have a major in nonprofit management. I feel like way I got into the position I have now is by committing to the community, getting to know people, showing that I was willing to work hard, and that I was passionate about food issues.
Is there an accomplishment of Mother Hubbard’s that you are most proud of?
I’m really proud of the Tool Share. We are the first nonprofit to do a free lending library. There have been a lot of neighborhood free lending libraries but not ones that were focused on a low-income community. I think it’s a program that builds trust and food access. It’s really fun to see people get excited about apple peelers and broad forks.
What is the most challenging issue that you have dealt with?
I find the direct service part of the Hub the most challenging. Emergency food is inherently inconsistent; day after day of either having a ton of food or not having food. The way you watch that affect peoples’ lives. As exciting as it could be on a really good day, it could be really disheartening on a day when the pantry was low on food.
What do you look forward to each day at MHC?
I like that I walk through a garden to get to my office. I love my coworkers so much, they are amazing. My boss is fantastic; I can’t imagine having a better boss. I love the community and that I get to know people from all different walks of life. There’s always something interesting going on like a pie is being baked or someone is making a compost pile.
What positions are you currently looking to fill?
We have open internship and work study positions. The internship positions we have available right now are development and food pantry interns which require 10-15 hours a week.
Our idea applicant is someone who has some experience working hard on the ground whether that’s at a movie theatre or a convenient store, that people are used to the consistency of hard work. We are also looking for someone who is well organized. The main thing is really passion and feeling like this is the kind of work you really want to invest in. When somebody in an interview or cover letter really conveys their passion, I think that that really strikes us.
What advice would you give to someone pursuing a career in nonprofit organization?
Volunteer and intern. I think that the best way to learn about a nonprofit organization is to really get involved. Be willing to do things even if they’re boring or in the moment don’t seem pressing. I think that that willingness to really take on something outside your comfort zone is what you need to really succeed in a nonprofit.
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard will be attending our Fall Career Fair October 28th from 10:30am-1:30pm , for a full list of employers go to https://iusph-csm.symplicity.com/students/index.php?mode=form&id=3d67e1096357a7006b6554347bf183b5&s=event&ss=cf .
Shannen Keene is a junior from Ellettsville, IN pursuing a degree in Community Health. Bloomington has taught her the value of diversity, culture, and good food. After graduation, she hopes to work for a nonprofit organization in Nashville, TN. Until then, her days will be filled with ice cream and watching Scandal.
Categories: Employer Spotlight
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