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Internship Fund Pays Off for Hope Gospel Mission

RELEASED: June 22, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — A regional initiative to develop and sustain internship opportunities for University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students paid off for Elizabeth Meyer, Tomahawk, and her new employer, Hope Gospel Mission in Eau Claire.

After a one-year internship with the non-profit agency, Meyer, who graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in mass communication, will begin a full-time position there as stewardship associate in August. Her responsibilities will include donor development, volunteer coordination and media/community relations.

Meyer was Hope Gospel Mission's second intern. The first was sponsored by the Bill Boyken/Charter Bank Fund and was so successful that the Mission decided to offer Meyer an opportunity to develop her public relations and marketing skills, said Brent Hafele, stewardship director at Hope Gospel Mission.

"Having an intern has proven to be really valuable," Hafele said. "We wouldn't have begun hiring interns without the Charter Bank Fund serving as the catalyst."

Hafele, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2002, said Meyer helped develop the Mission's new volunteer program, produced its newsletter, conducted tours and was involved in a major press conference during her internship.

" Elizabeth did an excellent job for us, and we are pleased she will be with us full time," Hafele said.

During her internship Meyer worked 20 hours a week, earning an hourly wage as well as three credits toward her degree. As a full-time professional she will be working as a member of a team, Hafele said. "Her role is to use development, volunteer management and public relations strategies to fully resource the Mission," he said.

A $25,000 pledge from Charter Bank Eau Claire established the William Boyken/Charter Bank Internship Fund through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation in 2003. The fund honors William Boyken, who was Charter Bank president and board chairman from 1984 until his retirement in 1991. A believer in internships, Boyken said more businesses can sponsor internships and more graduates will be acquainted with employment opportunities in the Chippewa Valley through this program.

"Until an employer actually hires an intern, they're often unaware of the value an intern can bring, which was the case at Hope Gospel Mission," said Jeanne Skoug, director of UW-Eau Claire's Office of Career Services, which administers the internship program. "Interns bring an incredible set of skills and talents into the workplace. Their new and fresh ideas typically give an invigorating sense of energy and enthusiasm to other employees."

Hafele couldn't agree more. "With the hiring of Elizabeth, Charter Bank's investment in this program was fulfilled," he said.

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JW/JB

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