Luke Olsen’s Internship with Catholic Charities’ Day Laborers office

By Luke Olsen, SJ

For my internship I work at Catholic Charities’ Day Laborers office in the south Bronx. Together with the Yonkers office, we work to support migrants and day laborers in the Bronx and surrounding boroughs. We regularly visit the paradas where day laborers gather to look for work in order to share resources and connect with newly arrived migrants. A central part of our work is organizing free OSHA training sessions in Spanish. In addition, I co-teach an English class for day laborers and migrants. Other members of our offices work in workforce development, basic case management, and worker advocacy and protection.

A growing part of our work involves finding ways to respond to the large number of African migrants in the New York metro area. I am involved in our effort to develop partnerships and increase capacity to respond to French-speaking migrants.

I think the most rewarding part of my work with Catholic Charities is the opportunity to build relationships and hear the stories of those I work alongside. I am consistently impressed and humbled by the courage, generosity, and resilience of the migrants and day laborers I encounter. As an IPED student specializing in development studies and particularly interested in forced migration, I find my studies greatly benefit from the opportunity to encounter those who experience these realities and to learn from their experience.

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