My internship came with a lot of fun and new responsibilities! My main responsibility was assisting my supervisor in creating activities within our Community Inclusion Program for Core Members to experience. I brainstormed, researched, and developed activities that would serve the wants and needs of each individual. Other responsibilities of mine included: working alongside Core Members in their homes as a direct support professional, creating content and running our new Instagram account, directing activities and getting to enjoy the outings, running errands for my supervisor, and sitting in on meetings.
There were many great accomplishments during my internship but my favorite one would have to be developing and starting our new Community Inclusion Program for our Core Members. Before the pandemic, they attended Day Hab for about 5-6 hours a day. With this new program, our Core Members have the freedom to choose the activities they would like to participate in throughout the week, get integrated into the community in different ways, and socialize with other Core Members that they might not see very often. It also allows them to choose activities that happen at night or on the weekends, which they didn't have before! For example, I was able to take a group to the Cyclone Stampede Rodeo on a Saturday night and they had the best time!
I was so incredibly blessed to intern at Friendship Ark and learned lessons I couldn't learn anywhere else. First, I learned that working alongside individuals with intellectual disabilities will change your heart and your perspective of the world forever. I never thought this is the path I would be on but I wouldn't change it. Second, I learned how to truly have fun in the moment as our Core Members always do. Third, I learned to be confident in my abilities and reach outside my comfort zone. And finally, I learned that I want to pursue a career that works with this population after graduation!
What advice would you give?
1. Get outside of your comfort zone - you'll be surprised by how much you might fall in love with something you've never done before! 2. Lean on your supervisor and ask a bunch of questions. 3. Find an internship you know you'll be passionate about. 4. Enjoy it because it goes by fast!