Last week, I talked a lot about the sense of community I felt at my placement. I think that is the biggest part of the culture I’ve experienced at Voices for Earth Justice as well. The atmosphere with the employees of VEJ, the volunteers, and the neighbors is an overwhelming sense of acceptance. People of all ages, races, and genders participate at the Hope House, and I find it really refreshing to make strong emotional connections with people I don’t know well and probably wouldn’t have met without the Hope House connecting us.
Part of being an interfaith organization is keeping tolerance and inclusivity at the core of every action made as a non-profit. I think VEJ does a great job of this, and it has made me feel so much more comfortable as an intern there. I think it also creates an environment where people feel comfortable and free to share their passion and love for the earth with each other, however they personally express those feelings. The culture of the Hope House and VEJ has made me feel closer to the earth, which I think will help me become a better environmentalist. Unexpectedly, VEJ has also helped me create some wonderful new relationships with a lot of different people.