Hope For the Future: America’s Young Leaders Share Inspirational Stories

August 18, 2023
America's Young Leaders | First Liberty Institute

by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read

This summer, First Liberty welcomed more than 25 law students and undergraduates to our internship program. They had an opportunity to learn directly from the best lawyers and legal experts in the country defending religious liberty. We want to share with you a special, new video series called “INTERNal Communications.” Hear the stories of our 2023 marketing interns, a group of passionate young leaders who joined the fight. Watch all the episodes below:

Here’s what interns had to say about their time and experience at First Liberty:

America's Young Leaders | First Liberty Institute

Andy Denning 

“First Liberty’s legal internship provides an excellent opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways to the protection of religious liberty—a rare opportunity for law students. I have particularly enjoyed interacting with fellow interns and working in a collaborative environment that facilitates not only high-quality work-product but also friendship.”

America's Young Leaders | First Liberty Institute

Caroline Hoch

“Interning with First Liberty has exposed me to so much more than religious liberty case law. I observed the bravery of the clients, the brilliance of their attorneys, and the history that gets shaped through the valorous representation of their stories. First Liberty is creating a better tomorrow for all people of faith and I am grateful to have spent the past eight weeks learning how to defend our most fundamental freedom.”

America's Young Leaders | First Liberty Institute

Lucia Hunt

“Working with First Liberty Institute has been life changing. Not only has this organization opened my eyes to the importance of freedom, but also the vital role of community and Christianity in society. I am blessed to be a part of a team that is willing to always teach and disciple every individual that walks through the doors.”

America's Young Leaders | First Liberty Institute

Layton Brown

“First Liberty fosters a genuine work environment where interns readily help others express their faith in a variety of ways in each aspect of their lives. It is because of my experience with First Liberty that I have grown to understand how important it is to serve others. Writing articles, filming videos, and participating in campaigns with Gerald Groff and Coach Kennedy has solidified how everyday Americans are being impacted by the work being done here.”

The next generation will soon lead our country and will carry the great responsibility of preserving its heritage of religious liberty for all. Like never before, they must be prepared to fight for our first freedom.

“There’s tremendous hope for America’s future leaders,” says First Liberty President and CEO Kelly Shackelford. “When I share with young leaders about First Liberty’s work and the impact our organization is having, many of them tell me they are inspired to make a positive impact for religious freedom in their careers and studies.”

“I’m filled with optimism,” he added, “I see a passion for freedom, the rule of law and the Constitution living and breathing in each of them.”

Our summer internship programs—as well as many of the top-notch educational initiatives offered through our Center for Religion, Culture and Democracy—are crucial initiatives. This is how we can ensure America’s future lawyers, teachers, CEOs, politicians, and influencers have an opportunity to learn first-hand the value of religious freedom and be equipped to defend it. Developing a new generation of bold religious freedom advocates is how First Liberty will continue winning in the courtroom and in our culture.

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