Internship inspires student to campaign for Roots of Peace

Like many business students, Brooks Gjelsteen has landed a valuable internship while at Dominican.

The junior, who is studying marketing in the Barowsky School of Business, is working for Roots of Peace, a San Rafael-based nonprofit  founded by Heidi Kuhn in honor of Princess Diana committed to global demining  with a goal of bringing economic empowerment to populations living in post-conflict regions. Brooks’ goal is to raise funds and spread awareness of Roots of Peace’s Social Entrepreneurs Challenge along with the Skoll Foundation to help farmers, family and community in Vietnam replace landmines and rebuild their lives.

The challenge, hosted by CrowdRise, gives individuals the ability to support and fundraise for social entrepreneurs and helps leverage their gifts by providing match and prize funding to organizations. Brooks brought that campaign to Dominican. Beginning December 2 -- "Giving Tuesday" -- he developed a team of backers and set up an information table on the Caleruega Dining Hall Plaza during lunchtime.

“I’m learning there are companies out there where the smallest donation came make the biggest difference,” Brooks says. “I want to make sure this campaign is a success because it’s about changing people’s lives.”

Brooks was led to the Roots of Peace internship by Dr. Denise Lucy, founder and executive director of the Institute for Leadership Studies in the Barowsky School of Business. Working for a nonprofit was natural for Brooks as he helped his mother for five years while she was executive director of the Santa Cruz SPCA.

“As I studied the Roots of Peace website, I realized that this is an organization where my experience would help. Inspired by the organization’s compassion -- from the success stories of demining farms to ensure that not one more child is hurt to the success stories of farmers that now can make a living due to the organization’s lucrative crops -- I wanted to be part of making a change,” Brooks says. “Many students at Dominican are familiar with the University’s commitment to community and sustainability. I know that if I share the same stories through Dominican that I read and hear about, others would be inspired and feel the passion I do for Roots of Peace. Bringing these two groups together could only lead to more prosperity and success for this utmost important cause.”