VCU undergraduates and graduate students are welcomed to join Open Minds as interns. These are not paid internships, though some departments (e.g., English) offer course credit. Interns may assist in mentoring the residents as they study for their graduation equivalency diplomas (GEDs). Interns may also propose their own lessons, writing workshops, art projects, dialogues, and so on. Interning is a great way to contribute to Open Minds, to gain teaching experience, and to make a difference in the lives of the residents without the commitment of taking a three credit course. The best internship projects are dialogue and writing intensive (as opposed to lecture and testing intensive) and engage all students in shared inquires about the their lives and of life.
Previous internships have included Ashley Shines and Julie Dinisio's creative writing workshop,which Julie wrote about in the Richmond Times Dispatch. And, more recently, Mark Strandquist led residents in Writing Home, an ongoing project featuring participant created postcards, each depicting and describing a place—physical, mental, metaphoric—that an individual has lost access to.
Other internships have grown directly out of Open Minds courses, including one by Nikki Ferndandes that was recently publicized on VCU's main page as part of a larger story about outstanding students with compelling service commitments.
To meet space and safety requirements, interns may be asked to collaborate or schedule their sessions with other interns. Internships take place weekdays between the hours of 8am and 3pm at the discretion of the Sheriff's Office staff. To propose an internship, write to Dr. David Coogan or call 804-827-8417. Include your goals for the internship, the material you want to cover, and the days and times you would like to serve.