Intern Spotlight - Cori Pequeno from ACU

Cori and Marc

This is Cori. Some might call her Quirky Cori. Her favorite animal is an owl. No, seriously, her favorite animal are owls. She also has a knack for making little crafts, saying she "practically lives at Hobby Lobby." Cori is a sophomore this year at ACU getting a degree in psychology. She would like to get her Masters for Counseling Psychology eventually.

Cori initially became involved with Fortress through Emily Burns, the children's minister at Woodland West church of Christ in Arlington. As a long-time Fortress volunteer, Emily has done everything from mentoring to providing meals for us! Emily encouraged Cori to apply for the internship here at Fortress this summer, and she is so glad she did (and so are we!). Her love for working with inner-city kids also pushed her to apply.

One of Cori's favorite parts about interning is the companionship of all the interns. She says they can easily turn anything into a joke, and it's what makes things fun when maybe you don't even feel like laughing some days. She recalls a day when another intern, Kalyn, was joking around with some chopsticks we had been using for our "Around the World" week when we learned about China. She was messing with intern Cody, casting a "bippity, boppity, boo" spell from the fairy godmother in Cinderella. The joke came full circle when the gang of interns ended their meeting later by putting their hands all in and chanting "bippity, boppity, bye!" It is such a blessing, Cori says, to leave everyday with a smile on her face because of her fellow interns' comedy and company.

A serious piece of advice Cori has for an incoming Fortress staff member would be that "prayer and sleep are essential!! These kids will wear you out in a heartbeat; do not underestimate them! Lots of sleep and God at your side will get you through both the good and the bad days at Fortress."

Cori feels God has been using the Near Southeast community of Fort Worth to work on herself. "I wish I could say I have felt like I was making a huge difference in the community with every moment I have been here, but I feel like the community has changed me for the better instead. I've worked with kids many times before, but never had I walked their streets and stepped into their shoes quite like this. I have a new-found respect and love for them especially from the time I've spent in the community." Urban Experience is a set of activities that the interns lead for the volunteer groups every week that allows the groups to see exactly what it is like for the Fortress families. It is an intensive, sometimes grueling experience that has made a big difference for interns like Cori. 

The hardest part for Cori is always having to be the authority figure. "It stinks to watch the youth group kids get to play one-on-one with the kids while we make sure the kids are behaving." Having to give consequences to misbehaving students is something that no one likes doing, but, it is an important part of working here, she says, and is necessary to the kids' behavioral virtuosity.