On December 1, Andrew Byrum, senior, learned that his years of hard work in activism had paid off: he is one of 45 recipients nation-wide of the Roadie Internship at Invisible Children.
The internship provides an immersing, 5-month speaking tour across the United States available to 45 American activists and 15 Ugandans. The process of applying for the internship is an online, written application and two rounds of personal interviews. Byrum also submitted a short video validating his candidacy which was filmed by Gene Kim, senior.
Byrum will relocate to San Diego in January with his three teammates, two Americans and one Ugandan, with whom he was paired based on similarities gauged by a personality questionnaire.
“The organization [Invisible Children] wants to make sure that the people you will be living with for five months are similar to you,” Byrum explained.
Byrum and his team will travel to community centers, schools and places of worship across the country showing educational videos and speaking about the cause. Groups that wish to hear from the “roadies” schedule showings and find their lodgings. Byrum estimates around 300 showings during his five month stint.
“They won’t admit it to me, but you can tell that my parents are nervous,” guessed Byrum. But the young activist can understand their concern; he will essentially live in a van for five months and stay in the homes of perfect strangers. “It makes sense that they would be worried about their 18-year-old son traveling the country before receiving even a college education, but they know that this is my dream, and they support me,” said Byrum.
But college is in the future for Byrum when he finishes his internship. “Since the internship is only five months, I plan to attend college in the fall [of 2012],” said Byrum. “Of course I will remain active in this cause through clubs and volunteer service, but I will have more experience speaking about [Invisible Children] and more knowledge about the subject to share with others.”
Byrum departs Raleigh on January 10, 2012. “I’m not sure how this experience will change me,” wondered Byrum. “I want to challenge and push myself during my time on the road. I will be working on four hours of sleep every night, but as a reward I get to speak to thousands of people about the issues I really care about.”