Chapman graduate Atty McLellan (‘18) is excited to be doing what she has always wanted to do: house people, and educate her community on homelessness.
McLellan has spent the past several years fighting for the rights of homeless populations in Orange County. During her undergraduate years at Chapman, McLellan volunteered to distribute food, water, and clothing to the homeless. She also organized protests and rallies on and off campus to mobilize students to become leaders on homeless rights advocacy.
Upon graduating, McLellan was accepted to be the very first Chapman Shinnyo fellow. The fellowship offers students across five universities and institutions—including U.C. Berkeley, Seattle University, George Mason University, and Redwood City 2020—the opportunity to introduce and implement the Shinnyo-En Foundation’s Infinite Paths to Peace. This seeks to inspire people to reflect on the power of interconnectedness and the pursuit of global harmony.
Shinnyo fellows partner with a non-profit to carry out this service. As the fellowship provides the fellow’s salary and healthcare, it is much easier for new graduates to immediately seek work at a non-profit in their field, and begin gaining experience and making connections in it.
“It’s a really good cushion, a launching pad for 10 months after graduation to be doing exactly what I want to be doing,” McLellan said.
During her fellowship period, McLellan became a volunteer coordinator for the Orange County United Way, and had the opportunity to assist on important projects concerning literacy, health, and housing.
One of these projects was United Way’s annual point in time (PIT) count, a biennial tally of people without a home on a particular night. This count allows the county to continue receiving funding to provide services for the homeless. McLellan appreciates having had the chance to contribute to a major service project for an issue so important to her.
“The fellowship is all about what you want to do with your life,” she said. “It gives you the freedom to do what you want without having to find a full-time job in that field first.”
Upon the conclusion of her fellowship, McLellan was officially hired by the United Way, and promoted to a Community Engagement Manager for their United to End Homelessness initiative. She is thrilled to continue her path with homelessness service, advocacy, and education.
Are you a graduating senior who is interested in applying for the Shinnyo Fellowship? Keep a lookout for the applications in the Spring! In the meantime, feel free to contact the current Chapman Shinnyo Fellow at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.