On June 13, 2023, we welcomed Kintan Silvany as the Small Business Multilingual Video Series Communications and Community Engagement Intern for the Office of Immigrant Affairs. She is an incoming junior at Case Western Reserve University who will intern with our office through the 2023 Mayor’s Internship Program.

Kintan will work with Alain Joinville, Director of Strategic Communications and Programs on a multilingual video project that will make small business programs more accessible to immigrant business owners in Philadelphia. She will also assist in managing outreach to immigrant business owners and immigrant communities, aid with developing a communication plan to help launch the campaign, and manage the process to compensate community members for feedback on the video project.

We asked Kintan some questions to get to know her better.

Why did you decide to intern with the Office of Immigrant Affairs?

I decided to intern with the Office of Immigrant Affairs because of my passion in supporting immigrant communities and my desire to contribute to their empowerment and success. It was my first choice among the various offices available! As a student pursuing a major in International Studies and Education, I have a strong passion for assisting immigrant youth and supporting their needs. My previous experiences working with organizations focused on community engagement and development in Southeast Asian (SEA) immigrant communities, such as Modero and Vietlead, have influenced my passion to make a positive impact in this field.

These experiences have provided me with valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by immigrant communities at a non-profit level. By interning with the Office of Immigrant Affairs, I believe that I  will gain a comprehensive understanding of how the City of Philadelphia actively promotes the well-being of its immigrant communities. I view this internship as an excellent opportunity to learn about the policies, programs, and initiatives implemented by the office to address the unique needs and concerns of immigrants. My parents are also immigrants themselves, so my passion for this work extends to my personal life as well.

Where are you from and what do you enjoy about Philadelphia?

I was born and raised in South Philadelphia, right by South Street! While I do attend college in Cleveland, I rep Philly with all my heart. I am also Indonesian-American, with parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Surabaya. My favorite thing about the city is the culture. I feel like I can stay connected to my own culture while also exploring so many different cultures in one city. My favorite thing to do would be to get beef sticks at the Southeast Asian Market in FDR Park. I also love how you can walk everywhere and transportation is not too much of a barrier. This makes restaurant exploring so much easier!

Are there any cultural traditions or celebrations from your heritage that you are particularly proud of or enjoy?

One cool thing about being Indonesian-American is that you get to see the fusion of two cultures. Every Indonesian Independence Day (August 17th), a festival is held by the Indonesian community in Philadelphia. There are many vendors that sell batik (traditional garments) and authentic food (I always buy nasi bungkus). I would also perform as an Indonesian dancer and my favorite dance was Cendrawasih (Bird of Paradise). This time of the year always reminds me of how grateful I am to have a community that supports the richness of our culture and creates a home away from home for all of our community members.

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time, I engage in a variety of hobbies and activities that allow me to relax, grow, and explore different interests. One of my recent hobbies has been working out and I am also fortunate to work part-time at Planet Fitness, which further supports my fitness goals and allows me to stay active. Within my school community, I hold essential leadership positions. I serve as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion chair of the Asian American Alliance, where I work on organizing events and initiatives that promote awareness and understanding of Asian cultures and issues. Additionally, as the Risk Manager of the UNICEF club, I am involved in planning and preparing for future activities that contribute to UNICEF’s mission of improving the lives of children worldwide.

In addition to my extracurricular activities at college, I am the President of the Board of Directors for Generation Music, a non-profit organization that focuses on providing classical music education to underrepresented youth in school districts that lack the financial resources to do so. When I have leisure time, I love indulging in my passions. Travel is one of my favorite activities as it allows me to explore new places, experience different cultures, and broaden my perspective. I also find solace in practicing yoga, which helps me relax, stay centered, and maintain a healthy mind-body connection. Playing the harp is another creative outlet that brings me joy and allows me to express myself artistically. Lastly, I am an avid food enthusiast and I enjoy exploring new culinary experiences and discovering unique flavors.

What are you hoping to accomplish through this internship?

Through this internship, my main goal is to make a positive impact on the community that has played a significant role in shaping who I am today. While pursuing my education, I haven’t had many opportunities to fully immerse myself in the kind of work I aspire to do after graduation. This internship will provide me with valuable real-world experience in public service immersion and community involvement. By actively engaging in this internship, I aim to gain practical experience that will prepare me for my future career. While theoretical discussions and hypothetical scenarios in the classroom are important, there is no substitute for real-world experience when it comes to making tangible changes and creating meaningful impacts.

I believe that by immersing myself in the work of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, I will gain a different perspective and acquire the skills necessary to make a genuine difference in the lives of immigrant communities. Additionally, I hope to establish a deeper connection with the immigrant community in Philadelphia. I believe that personal and intentional engagement with the communities I aim to serve is vital. By building meaningful relationships and understanding the unique challenges and needs of these communities, I can develop more effective strategies and initiatives that address their concerns.

Overall, my main objectives for this internship are to gain practical experience in public service, broaden my perspective through immersion in real-world scenarios, and forge stronger connections with the immigrant community in Philadelphia. I am committed to utilizing this opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge, and understanding needed to make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of those I seek to serve.

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