The mission of the Childrenâ s Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investment in children before they get sick, drop out of school or suffer family breakdown. CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundations, corporation grants and individual donations. We have never taken government funds.
The Internship Experience Throughout the year, CDF's headquarters in Washington, D.C., offers a wide range of unpaid internships/volunteers to provide an opportunity for students and recent graduates to receive academic credit and valuable work experience in the nonprofit/public interest sector. Our internship/volunteer program aims to recruit and to cultivate emerging child advocates from across a wide spectrum of academic fields and career interests. We offer interns/volunteers a substantive learning experience, an opportunity to contribute to our work, and the knowledge, skills, and tools they will need to continue as child advocates after leaving CDF. Interns/volunteers are assigned to one of CDF's several divisions, providing administrative and program support to our professional staff of researchers, lobbyists, public interest lawyers, trainers, community organizers, media and communications specialists, fundraising officers, event planners, administrative managers, and computer technology experts. As a complement to their individual division placements, interns/volunteers are collectively engaged in a comprehensive advocacy education program that explores CDF's mission and structure as a whole and its pivotal role in the children's movement. Through organized networking and cross-functional team projects, interns/volunteers also have many opportunities to learn from each other, to develop their leadership skills, and to interact with staff members throughout the organization. Throughout the academic year, roughly 85 percent of our interns/volunteers earn academic credit for their CDF internship. These include students from local colleges and universities as well as those participating in academic internship programs sponsored by schools from around the country. CDF's Internship/Volunteer Coordinator facilitates appropriate placement for such academic internships and assists interns with tapping into information resources for completing their research projects, supplementing their course work, and documenting and evaluating their internship experience. We also offer a wide array of career exploration and job-seeking tools and resources as an integral part of the internship/volunteer experience. Although CDF's internships/volunteers do not engage interns/volunteers in providing direct services to children or families, we do assist with organizing and/or identifying volunteer and community service opportunities with child-serving agencies in the Washington, D.C., area.