Monday, July 25, 2011

Interns for Impact: ENEAMI BESTMAN

Hello! My name is Eneami Bestman, it is pronounced E-nae-me, which is Nigerian meaning, “my day is coming!” I am a native of Miami, Florida and have served over eight  years in the United States Air Force. During my time in the Air Force I was stationed in several places including serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait and Iraq. After completing my commitment to the Air Force, I attended the University of West Florida where I earned my bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. I have recently completed graduate school at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA with my MA in American Government along with two certificates in both Global Politics and Law & Public Policy.

With my military experience and education,  it would have been logical for me to move to Washington, DC and seek employment. However, after viewing an interview on YouTube of First Lady Michelle Obama, she expressed how her parents instilled in her the importance of college graduates returning to their hometowns and giving back. She commented on how her parents presented her with the question of, “How much better would our communities be if people returned for a few years to give back?” It was at that moment I decided after graduate school I would return home and serve in my community. I have been granted that opportunity through interning with Catalyst Miami.
As a summer intern at Catalyst Miami, I work directly with Daniella Levine, the nonprofit organization’s President  & CEO. Working with Daniella is very exciting, no day is ever the same as I get to watch her  in action. On the day I came in to interview with Daniella and receive an orientation of Catalyst Miami, as I passed Daniella's office, I heard someone say “What are you doing the next couple of days?” I thought she was speaking to the volunteer coordinator who was showing me around, but no, she was speaking to me! The next morning at 6:30am I was headed, with Daniella, to the Annual Florida Prosperity Partnership (FPP) Conference in St. Pete, FL.
At this conference, I learned of the Prosperity Campaign (PC), which is the flagship initiative of Catalyst Miami. The Prosperity Campaign helps low-wage individuals and families in South Florida connect to quality healthcare programs and services, establish financial security, and improve their quality of life. I am designated as the point person working with Daniella to plan and organize the utilization of a grant that will afford us the ability to further expand the Prosperity Campaign's services statewide. I am helping to create a survey that will be distributed statewide to all of the prosperity centers. The information that we gather will help us to asset map, evaluate the various services of the prosperity centers which will lead to greater collaboration locally and statewide. Outside of this great task, I have been presented with numerous opportunities to gain experience in other areas. I have represented Catalyst Miami at a public hearing advocating against Florida Medicaid Reform, which would increase hardship for low-income, elderly, and the disabled population. I am also working on an article for publication in the Georgetown Poverty Law Journal. The unique and rewarding aspect about interning at Catalyst Miami is that I am not given busy work; I am made an integral member of the team.
Recently, I was notified that I have been selected as a Pubic Ally. This program is a ten month apprenticeship where I will be placed at a non-profit within the county where I will contribute to the development of that organization. At the end of this exciting journey, next year, I desire to enter law school and continue my life as a public servant.