August 24, 2016 | Jacquelyn Hubbard

Krista Malbouef '16 is a summer 2016 intern at The Forum in Washington, D.C., working toward improving the lives of youth.

For Krista Malbouef ’16 tutoring in high school through an English second language program quickly became much more than teaching kids English. 

“We got really invested in each other’s lives. I eventually started going to their birthday parties and baptisms and things like that,” Malbouef recalled. “Eventually, I got a call [from a tutee]: ‘Hey, my dad is going to court tomorrow because he’s going to be deported—could you go translate for my dad in court?’ and that was just crazy.”

From that experience, Malbouef realized she wanted to be a voice for the voiceless. Once at Calvin, she was certain that she wanted to study social work.

Family reunification

Then, during summer 2014, Malbouef interned with Bethany Christian Service’s Immigration and Refugee Services in the Family Reunification Program. She anticipated her internship to consist of making copies and getting coffee but, to her surprise, she was met with a very different experience.

“On my first day, I walked in and they said, ‘Okay, are you willing to fly one of our kids to their family on Friday?’ So the whole job was about family reunification,” Malbouef said. “I was working with kids from Latin America, and I was the first face to welcome them [when they flew to the United States]. Eventually, we would find their families, whom they may not have seen in ten-plus years, and reunify them. It was beautiful.” 

Malbouef carried her passion for youth into her summer 2016 consulting internship at The Forum for Youth Investment in Washington, D.C.

At The Forum, Malbouef is involved with data analysis and collection, and with product development, where she receives data and crunches numbers to put statistics into infographics.

The Forum serves clients from cities, school districts and larger foundations who recognize needs in their communities. “We come in and have a conversation with them to talk about what programs are already in place that they could [improve], or give them ideas to start new programs,” Malbouef explained. “Our job is to be the outside eyes looking in, pointing out the holes for them to fill.”

Collective approach to issues

Working at The Forum has taught Malbouef the importance of good research and how that affects what services are provided to clients. She also enjoyed getting a better grasp on policy, and meeting needs from a comprehensive approach. “We zoom out on issues from an education, health and home perspective to collectively approach these issues,” Malbouef said.

Following her internship at The Forum, Malbouef will begin pursuing her master’s degree in social work at the University of Michigan in fall 2016 and hopes her future work will involve legal aid, family reunification, and immigration policy and law. 

Malbouef is thankful for her formative years at Calvin and intends to continue pursuing social work, motivated by God’s redemptive hand in social justice.

“I’m a firm believer that God is going to give you more than you can handle and will be there to catch you when you fall,” Malbouef said. “The more we embrace the brokenness in our lives, the more Jesus shines through. I think Calvin teaches you how to step into places and conversations that are uncomfortable. The atmosphere at Calvin encourages you to address issues and talk about them with grace.”

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