Shepherd Higher Education Consortium On Poverty

“Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty believes that poverty is one of the greatest roadblocks to success, and that diminishing poverty and enhancing human capability can elevate society.” — Jim Langford, Executive Director

The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHEP) summer internship is one component of a larger educational framework that helps college students across different disciplines incorporate direct poverty knowledge into their lives, no matter where their career paths may eventually lead. To this end, SHECP focuses on expanding and improving educational opportunities for college students that will prepare them, as future professionals and citizens, to understand and address the problems associated with poverty – its meaning, causes, and consequences. Each summer, SHECP matches about 130 college students from 25 diverse institutions with partner agencies located in more than 20 communities to provide hands-on experience for students and direct assistance to communities and their most vulnerable citizens.

Through its internship programs, SHECP offers college students a hands-on learning experience by placing them with agencies working to address issues of poverty and civic engagement in distressed communities. During 2019, the Dyson Foundation provided project support funding, under the theme of Enhancing Education, for SHECP’s Poughkeepsie Internship Program. Through this experiential learning opportunity, students not only provide direct support to local nonprofits benefiting our community, but are able, on a personal level, to develop a true and empathic understanding of the human struggles resulting from poverty. As one student states, “It is one thing to learn about poverty from a book, but actually living and working in a community that has been drastically impacted by poverty teaches you so much more....”

During the summer of 2019, college students worked with MASS Design’s Hudson Valley Design Lab, Hudson River Housing, Rural & Migrant Ministry, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, and the Poughkeepsie Farm Project – all current or recent Dyson Foundation grantees.