My main duties as a shelter assistant were to help the shelter coordinators in the office with various tasks involving our clients. The day-to-day activities I typically did were interacting with the current shelter residents, gauging their current housing situations, how we can help in terms of resources, and keeping up with office phone calls and emails. I have also participated in our shelter's library outreach, which I did every Thursday evening at the Ames Public Library. This opportunity allowed me to interact with the public and speak with past clients The Bridge Home has previously helped.
Learning to be confident in a professional setting would be my greatest accomplishment from this internship. It wasn't easy to see myself working a professional job as a first-generation student with little guidance surrounding higher education. However, once I got into the groove of my work responsibilities, I felt more confident in my work and how I interacted with others at the shelter.
I think it is important to always conduct yourself professionally throughout your internship, even if it's an environment that is stressful. I have learned that keeping calm and cool will lead to the best decisions and results when working with others. Finally, I learned that being kind to others is crucial in human services, so being positive every day was key throughout my internship experience.
What advice would you give?
Knowing whether you have a passion for working with people is important for this major, in my opinion. I think future HDFS students should try to work a part-time job related to this field to gauge whether this is their desired career path. Although stressful at times, human services can be rewarding in knowing that we are all pursuing the same goal; to help and empower people.