[act-ma] DART Center paid internships (deadline 1/1/08)

Susanna Maria Porte susannaporte at excite.com
Mon Oct 29 14:19:21 PDT 2007

The Direct Action & Research Training (DART) Center is currently accepting resumes 

from those interested in social and economic justice issues for their paid, four-month 

community organizing training program known as the DART Organizers Institute. 

The application deadline for this program is January 1, 2008.

The DART Center has built non-partisan community organizations throughout the 

country that have won important improvements on a broad set of issues affecting 

low-moderate income people including:

. Education reform in low-performing public schools 

. Job Training 

. Drugs and Violence 

. Affordable Housing 

. Criminal Recidivism 

. Neighborhood Revitalization, etc.

The DART Organizers Institute starts June 17, 2008 and combines a 7-day classroom 

with 15-week field training. Organizer Trainees will learn such things as:

. Entering a community

. Identifying and training local leaders 

. Strategic planning and issue cutting 

. Relationship and community building 

. Direct Action on community issues 

. Fundraising

This is a paid training program designed to promote successful graduates into 

permanent salaried positions making up to $35,000/year in starting salaries, 

plus benefits. Graduates from the DART Organizers Institute have gone onto accept 

Executive Director and Associate Community Organizing positions throughout the 

country. We continue to train the best of those working to build the power of 

low-moderate income neighborhoods to win victories on important issues in their 


To understand what graduates of the DART Organizers Institute have accomplished, 

please take a moment and read through a few examples:

1. Jeff Modzelewski finished his undergraduate degree in 2004 at Capital University 

in Columbus, Ohio. After working for two years in the business world, he then 

was accepted into the DART Organizers Institute. Eight months after Jeff's paid 

community organizing training, he organized over 750 community leaders in Columbus, 

Ohio to reign in payday lending operations that prey upon the most vulnerable 

by charging exorbitant fees and interest on short-term loans. As a result, State 

Senator Miller introduced statewide legislation that will equitably regulate 

the rampant misuse of payday lending. With the momentum of the State Senator's 

commitment, Jeff and coalition leaders are now building a statewide power base 

to ensure passage of this legislation. 

2. Leah Woodward finished her masters in film in 2005 at University of Florida 

in Gainesville, Florida and then graduated from the Organizers Institute in 2005. 

She then accepted a job with the FAST organization in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

Using the training provided, Leah and another organizer mobilized 1,800 people 

from 28 congregations to take action on affordable housing. As a result of this 

action, County Commissioners agreed to create a $10 million dollar housing trust 

fund that will set public monies aside for building housing that low- to moderate-income 

families can afford. In addition, the commission unanimously approved a mandatory 

inclusionary zoning ordinance that will compel builders to include affordable 

units in their developments for years to come. 

3. Andy Lee graduated from Michigan State University and went into the DART Organizers 

Institute in 2004 and was hired onto staff with the BUILD organization in Lexington, 

Kentucky. Andy organized with local leaders to create a drug recovery program 

in the women's jail in 2006. During an in-depth research phase facilitated by 

Andy, leaders discovered that over 80% of the jail population in Fayette County 

are there for problems related to drugs and alcohol, and with treatment the re-arrest 

rate drops from 66% to 19%. While a drug recovery program existed in the jail 

for men there was no program for women. After initially denying any consideration 

of BUILD's plan to add the needed $175,000 to the city's annual budget for the 

program, the mayor eventually agreed to do so after being confronted by 1,010 

people from 20 congregations all pressing for the program at a community action 

on March 20, 2006. Two months later the Urban County Council made it official 

by approving the Mayor's budget, and later that summer,the drug recovery program 

in the women's jail opened. The program is expected to save millions of dollars 

in tax money previously spent on re-arrests, while also demonstrably improving 

the lives of thousands of women who would have continued wrestling with drug 

addiction and crime. Andy is now the Executive Director of another community 

organization in Broward County, Florida known as BOLD Justice.

4. Virginia Lynch finished her undergraduate degree at Emory University with 

a degree in religious studies and then entered the DART Organizers Institute 

in 2004. Following training she accepted a position on staff with the PEACE organization 

in Lakeland, Florida. Using the training provided by DART, Virginia led an organizing 

drive that mobilized over 800 community leaders to publicly call for action on 

health care related issues. As a result of her work, the organization won the 

approval of a permanent half cent sales tax that will provide over $35 million 

dollars annually to fund one new health clinic a year for the next five years 

and increase indigent patients seen from the current 2,000 to 45,000 patients 

per year. Virginia is now the Executive Director of a the RISC organization in 

Richmond, Virginia.

While these are clear-cut victories with measurable results, they are only snapshots 

in time depicting the work of three of the graduates of our training program. 

Along with over 30 others, Andy, Leah, Jeff, and Virginia continue to organize 

and regularly express a long-term commitment to the field.  To apply, please 

send an updated resume to: Ben MacConnell, the Recruitment Director at: institute at thedartcenter.org 

before January 1, 2008. You can also call him with questions: (785) 841-2680. 

To find out more about the DART center, check out our website: www.thedartcenter.org.

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