In Fellowship Together

By: Kelli Raker, Director of Programs

The Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation Fellows at the fellowship graduation.

The Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation Fellowship is a professional development experience for emerging leaders in North Carolina who want to make a difference in our state around issues of food insecurity, access to education, and poverty. More than an internship, the fellowship includes intentional time for the fellows to build themselves, build the Foundation, and build the community. Each summer, the fellows spend 40 hours a week from mid-May to mid-August working on a project with a local partner, the values-based leadership curriculum, connections to mentors, and hosting a fundraiser.

Halfway through the summer, we reach the point where we have gone through forming, storming, and norming stages of group development. By early July, the fellows were now performing as a community, having developed companionship, friendship, and support for each other.

What did our community of summer fellows look like?

  • Helping each other brainstorm solutions to challenges on project work
  • Sharing our stories
  • Building and executing team goals
  • Leveraging each others’ networks and strengths
  • Serving on Saturday mornings in our communities
  • Making mistakes and learning from them
  • Reflecting on Jamie’s leadership and passions, and how to carry her legacy forward
  • Taking a deep dive into complex issues like the economics of minimum wage and racial inequities in food access
  • Providing honest, supportive, and constructive feedback to each other

Creating the trust and connection to be in fellowship with one another has taken time, authenticity, and vulnerability. I’m proud of these 10 women for their openness to the process and their diligence on their projects. They have worked toward systemic change for the good of our communities, often with minimal resources in nonprofit environments.

Having the support of the group means that you’re not alone even when faced with the most difficult challenges of our state.