Our impact is most noticeable as our students turn into alumni, furthering their education and moving into the working world. Below is a gallery of features, organized by graduation year. We encourage those new to Inn Dwelling to understand our reach and mission through these features; hear directly from alumni how Inn Dwelling programs made the difference. Check back monthly for new alumni stories!
Looking to read up on current Inn Dwelling students? Check out spotlight on participants in our middle and high school programs here!
Towards the end of 7th grade, Chelsea joined her sister Katleene (who is now studying to take her NCLEX nursing exam) in Inn Dwelling programs. In 2015, she graduated from Central High School and matriculated into St. Joseph's University. Last month, Chelsea graduated from SJU with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Relations and Spanish, a double minor in Latin American Studies and History, and no college loans or debt.
During her time at SJU, Chelsea was heavily involved in a number of issue areas. She participated in the Inside-Out Program facilitating dialogue and education across profound social differences with inmates at a Philadelphia prison. She served as a delegate for the Ignatian Family Teach-In in Washington, D.C., advocating against mass incarceration and being a proponent for immigration. She was selected for the University of Pennsylvania’s Law Outreach Program. She served in leadership roles on the e-board of various organizations, won several awards, published research essays in political journals, achieved a spot on the Dean’s List, and joined no less than four honors societies (Alpha Theta Phi, NSCS, Sigma Delta Phi, and Sigma Iota Rho).
Chelsea also spent time at a number of internships and volunteered in the community. She interned at the World Affairs Council twice as a part of their Global Smarts Program teaching inner city youth about Model UN, climate change, and preserving cultural heritage. The Council would later offer her a position as part of their summer internship team in their education and travel department. Chelsea then interned with the Weiser Law Firm drafting litigation, inspection demands, and statements for violations as well as researching Securities and Exchange Commission filings; those drafts were eventually submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. Her third internship involved conducting intake forms for undocumented immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees and domestic violence victims at HIAS PA. In her spare time (we're not sure spare time exists in Chelsea's world!), she volunteered at Puentes De Salud and the Providence Center; there she tutored and fostered relationships with members of Philadelphia’s Latinx community, all while working as an immigration paralegal and sales associate.
After graduation, Chelsea decided to take a gap year to get more experience under her belt. She has been offered full-time paralegal positions, but she is holding out for an Analyst position with Latin American Intelligence. She plans to apply to either law school or graduate school in the coming months for entrance in Fall 2020.
Chelsea knows the value of hard work, and she's seen the benefits of that hard work come to fruition: "I enjoyed my time at Inn Dwelling because it holistically shaped me spiritually and academically. Inn Dwelling knew my potential, and they pushed me. There were days I wanted to avoid the program and instead hang out with my friends. Now looking back, I am incredibly grateful for that push. The program challenged me, and it paid off in the end--I graduated adorned with honors and pins. The program also made me into an advocate, and I became dedicated to social justice issues while in school. Without Inn Dwelling, I firmly believe I would not be where I am today, reaching for the stars and refusing to settle for anything less than my dreams."