Environmental Studies’ Impact Internship program has been partnering with the Restorative Justice Movement Center to provide meaningful opportunities and skills for WashU students to help address real environmental issues in Missouri. One of the interns with Restorative Justice Movement Center, Eimear Cunningham, shares her experience as an Environmental Studies Impact Intern below.
I had the opportunity to work with the Restorative Justice Movement Center between May and December of 2022. The RJMC is a community center located in the Ville, St. Louis, that works to provide addiction recovery support and other resources to the area. Founded by Amber Harris and Deandre Harris-Bey, RJM has become an integral part of the neighborhood.
As an intern, I got to work on a variety of different projects that encouraged me to learn about NGO administration. This included sitting in on meetings with local partners, organizing the RJMC events calendar, helping with vaccination clinics, and researching grant information. I also contributed to RJM’s outreach efforts by researching Restorative Justice history and methods, and creating educational materials to be presented at local high schools with changing racial demographics.
The most rewarding part of this experience was connecting with the Ville community.
I got to know community members by studying together for our Peer Support Specialist accreditations from the Missouri Department of Mental Health, and listening to their stories during Speaker Jams and other events. One of my favorite moments was spending Thanksgiving at the center, and witnessing first hand how RJM has positively impacted so many in the neighborhood. I am very grateful for everyone’s warmth and kindness, and I loved having the opportunity to give back to the greater St. Louis community.