For my internship, I had the ability of having a very flexible work schedule. I was able to work with the AMP (Achieving Maximum Potential) program, where I performed a variety of tasks. These included coming up with ideas for AMP meetings, attending AMP meetings, interacting with the youth, attending AMP Day on the Hill which is where the youth and the coordinators from all across the state of Iowa go to the Iowa State Capitol to talk with legislators, as well as smaller tasks such as creating flyers, posters, bookmarks, and more similar items to help promote various events that AMP holds. I was also eventually able to work with the entire Prevention Program at YSS, which gave me access to their Youth Employment, Tobacco and Substance Abuse, Adolescent Pregnancy, and Human Trafficking Prevention. With these programs, I was able to go into the 7/12 and YRH house, which are the YSS youth recovery houses, to meet the youth and participate and attend their group meetings. I began to implement a 2 Good 4 Drugs program into the surrounding school districts where the tobacco and substance abuse coordinators and I would go directly into schools each week to teach them this curriculum. Additionally, I attended many human trafficking trainings where I was able to expand my knowledge on the subject and share it with others.
My greatest accomplishment would be how much I have grown personally since this internship started. The wide variety of work that I was able to take part in allowed me to greatly expand my connections as well as my knowledge on so many different topics. These things, as well as the work environment itself, also assisted in my interpersonal communication skills and my ability to see things from more than one point of view. I went from a sort of shy, intimidated person to eventually being extremely comfortable, outgoing and connected which was a great accomplishment to see both for me and for my supervisors. Overall, this experience really opened my eyes to an entire new variety of information and gave me a broad amount of knowledge to where I now feel comfortable going forward after college and pursuing my career in Social Work confidently and effectively.
What advice would you give?
My main advice is to keep your options open! I know the first instinct is most likely to go the easy way out by picking the first or easiest internship option that you come across to simply get it over with, but this is definitely not the answer or best choice. An internship is an incredible experience and opportunity that really helps you to get that first-hand experience and knowledge that you need before you graduate and are on your own in the real world. Especially in the Human Services field, gaining as much experience as you can is extremely important and beneficial. Definitely take the time to research a variety of internships that interest you, apply to multiple, compare your options and pick the one that best suits you!