Sarah Hua ’24

Housing Options & Planning Enterprises Inc. (H.O.P.E.), Oxon Hill, MD

This summer, I worked with Housing Options & Planning Enterprises (H.O.P.E.) as a remote grant writer and research intern. H.O.P.E. is a non-governmental organization interested in fostering individual and community self-sufficiency in the low- to moderate-income communities of color in St. George’s County and the greater southern Maryland area through housing assistance and financial literacy education. It emphasizes homeownership as fundamental to overall financial stability and success and helps residents through difficult, unanticipated hardships. H.O.P.E. provides wide-ranging services designed to equip its clients with the capacity and knowledge to bolster their financial and housing security.

I was charged with weekly independent work in which I had to strategically and persuasively apply for grants that would increase H.O.P.E.’s financial capacity for community outreach. Some projects I worked on include completing applications for the Amazon Web Services Imagine Grant, the M&T Bank Grant, the Bank of America Affordable Housing Grant and the Maryland Community Legacy Grant. I also conducted research on trusts and generational wealth for people of color in preparation for H.O.P.E.’s participation in the Heirs Property Webinar. The Maryland Community Legacy Grant was one of my long-term projects, and it focused on home and façade improvements in Charles County, Maryland, that benefit senior and disabled residents and align with sustainable planning initiatives put forth by the county.

After completing my internship for H.O.P.E., it is clear to me that nonprofit work is something that is continually inspiring to me, and it is an avenue I want to pursue after college. The organization’s dedication to serving low-income BIPOC communities and providing long-term housing and support for those in need has allowed me to realize that fostering community and helping other people in whatever ways I can is a priority. It was meaningful to be able to make an impact on people’s livelihoods through my work in this organization, and I want to pursue a career or other experiences where I can continue doing so.

As an American Studies major, the practical knowledge and experience that I have acquired from this internship has allowed me to view my understanding of what I have previously learned in my various classes from another perspective that sparks hope and curiosity about the ways in which we have already and continue to uplift communities of color. I hope to gain more hands-on experience with solidarity and community-building that are essential to what I am continuing to learn more about.

I am grateful for this opportunity to substantially explore the nonprofit career pathway. I would also like to thank the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for providing me with the resources and connections necessary to receive and successfully complete this internship.