Pivot's Fall Interns: Redefining Awesome

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Leaves are turning colour, bugs are dying by the truckload, and we have a new crew of interns.

 What is it they do? Redefine awesome, that’s what.

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Using the law as a catalyst for positive social change, Pivot Legal Society works to improve the lives of marginalized communities.

Jeff Johnson juggles more legal issues in a week than some drug cartels. Assisting three different lawyers on a half dozen cases would wear most people down. But most people are weak and all weakness does is confuse Jeff since he simply can’t identify with it. A few weeks ago he helped us bring a notorious slumlord to court. Next week? Who knows. But since its Jeff, battling Cthulhu to the death isn’t off the table.

“I was interested in Pivot because I wanted to gain a greater understanding of the legal and social justice issues facing residents of the DTES. I wanted to help Pivot use the law to effect social change and challenge those laws that discriminate against or endanger marginalized people.”

Kyrsten Howatt gets things done. I think that sums her up quite nicely. She also is better than you at things. Sound vague? Yes it is, since I haven’t the time in the day to list out all the things she is better than you AT. So I thought I would cut to the chase. Assisting Darcie Bennett and Katrina Pacey in stuffing an angry jack-boot into the gut of gender inequality, Kyrsten supports our Sex Work campaign and Jane Doe project, while simultaneously working on the Hope in Shadows project. Which is a long way of saying she has a more interesting job than you.

“Before interning at Pivot, I worked as a social worker for about 2 years in Ottawa, working one-on-one with clients in the community who were managing mental illness and substance use. I continually encountered frustrating situations for how they were being treated by the "system" including the justice system and even the healthcare system. I felt like I needed to do more. As a social worker I believe we need to do the best for our clients within the constraints of today’s reality, while also continually striving for social changes that will improve their lives in a bigger more impactful way in the future. I came across Pivot and the incredible work they are doing to make systemic changes by bringing the issues to light and taking steps to change them through legal action. I was instantly intrigued and wanted to be a part of it. I especially admired the grassroots approach and the integral involvement of clients in the process towards change.”

Nour Kachouh makes us money. Which keeps the lights on, our office staffed, and our campaigns strong. How do nonprofits survive so that they can focus on their work and not stress over the bills? Nour Kachouh, that’s how. Somehow she also finds the time to provide support to Hope in Shadows which means she helps the community make money too. Wallet feeling a little light these days? Talk to Nour. She’ll sort you out before her coffee’s finished.

“For the past few years, I’ve been hearing about the incredible work that Pivot is a part of in the DTES, and I kept telling myself 'this is what I want to be doing!’, however, I was always hesitant in getting involved, as I felt there was always more to learn before applying my knowledge. This past summer, while looking for work for the fall, I took a leap of faith and decided to seek out an internship at Pivot, and rather than standing on the sidelines and watching projects unfold, I wanted to be part of it.”

That’s our team. Each of them is making Pivot more effective, more in tune with those we serve, and better equipped to move into 2014 stronger than ever.