Adrienne Bernstein

Communications Officer at Teach a Man to Fish

Bachelor of Journalism (Hons.), Journalism and International Development, 2014

I thought working more at the grassroots level on social change would fit me better.

Adrienne Bernstein just wasn’t sure it was the right fit. She landed a job as an editorial assistant at CBC in Toronto right after graduating from King’s. In the fourteen months she was there she went from operating the teleprompter and delivering scripts to writing scripts and producing interview segments on CBC News Network. She enjoyed much of it, but there was that “right fit” thing.

“I got into journalism to affect change in an ethical way that was meaningful to me,” Adrienne says. “Journalism has those opportunities but I wasn’t finding them. I thought working more at the grassroots level on social change would fit me better.”

And so Adrienne headed for the “grassroots”. She applied for and received a Yahel Social Change Fellowship, packed her bags and headed off to Lod, a city near Tel Aviv in Israel. There she worked with children at a community centre for Ethiopian-Israelis and Arabs.

Adrienne stayed in Lod for nine months and then moved to London, England when her fellowship was done. She quickly found two part time jobs – one a Communications Officer for a tiny community organization managing the philanthropy and development for an Anglo-Jewish community, the other a Grant Officer for the country’s biggest cancer-focused organization, Cancer Research UK. She liked both jobs but just not enough to stay. Adrienne was still looking for the right job, the right fit.

Then she heard about Teach a Man to Fish, a small charity with a huge impact.

“We work with school business teams made up of teachers and administrators and students to set up, plan and run a school business,” Adrienne says. The charity operates in more than a hundred countries with school businesses ranging from beekeeping in Tanzania to an organic garden in Paraguay. Each project gives students new skills such as team building and leadership and provides schools with sometimes desperately needed funds.

“Our projects are designed to create profit for the school to help purchase resources such as uniforms or pens or chalkboards or help hire additional staff or support personnel. That’s for lower resourced schools. For higher resourced schools many of them will use the profits for social responsibility projects such as programs for students with disabilities. That’s really cool I think.”

Adrienne’s job is to promote Teach a Man to Fish, to get the word out. “I’m the Communications, Marketing and PR Officer. It’s a small charity. We all have really long titles,” she says with a laugh. She gets to use many of the skills she learned studying journalism at King’s but she says the most important thing she learned there was empathy.

“That mindset that I developed at King’s has really helped me. We work with people from all over the world every day. People who are often stretched to the limit. We have to be empathetic to their needs and their cultures.”

Adrienne has found a place that, for now, is a really good fit.

Posted: Jan. 2018