Scholarship Funds a Summer of Service
Betsy Dotson ’74
Anacelia Gomez ’15 gained invaluable experience working in a women’s homeless shelter due to an experiential learning fund that honors a deceased Allegheny College alumna.
Anacelia’s summer internship in Washington, D.C., was made possible by the Betsy Dotson ’74 Experiential Learning Fund. Ms. Dotson, a lawyer, worked for many years in the public sector. She was dedicated to Allegheny’s undergraduate mission and believed in broad educational experiences. Ms. Dotson’s parents established the fund after her death at the age of 48.
The Dotson Fund paid for Anacelia’s summer housing, meals, and transportation to her internship. “The support I received through the Dotson Fund allowed me to stay in Washington for the summer and take advantage of workshops and events that helped to supplement my work,” Anacelia says.
Anacelia Gomez ’15
Anacelia had heard about the good work being done at the N Street Village shelter in the nation’s capital from a fellow Bonner Scholar at Allegheny. “It sparked my interest because I had been working in areas of education and youth-enrichment opportunities, but I did not have much experience in areas such as poverty and homelessness,” she says.
N Street Village is a nonprofit organization that provides services for homeless women in Washington, D.C. It is known for its day shelter, which opens at 8 a.m. daily and greets more than 1,400 clients annually. Women can avail themselves of free showers, laundry, medical services, mental and physical wellness activities, and a career education office. The organization runs a night shelter across the street as well, and women can be placed into permanent housing, including at Miriam’s House.
“I requested to work in Miriam’s House, a housing unit for women who are HIV-positive,” says Anacelia. “At first I was nervous because my title quickly changed from summer intern to small-scale caseworker. I monitored medicine intake, planned activities that would help the women get out of the housing once in a while, and helped plan the weekly meetings that all the women attended.
“By the end of summer I formed a relationship with every woman in Miriam’s House, and made a friend of every one of them,” says Anacelia. “Their stories warmed my heart, but also made me realize the many issues that affect women, especially those of color.” Anacelia is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Black Culture, the Association of Caribbean Students, and the African Student Association.
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