My responsibilities during my internship ranged from childcare to case management to development. My primary role as the Children's Programming Case Management Intern was to facilitate childcare for and with the mothers with a trauma-informed approach. I scheduled times to watch the children while the mothers were in meetings or taking care of other tasks, and I modeled positive play while the mothers were present. I also attended case management meetings, a family treatment court, and a financial empowerment class. I designed materials for mothers to be aware of events in the building and communicated with volunteers via email. I prepared activities for children and mothers to engage in educational play and healthy coping skills.
My greatest accomplishment during my internship experience was designing a worksheet. One of the tasks given to me by my supervisor was to create an evaluation tool for an intervention. Rather than use an existing intervention, I developed a new worksheet based on information I had gathered from case managers. I created an evaluation tool alongside that and distributed the materials to case managers. This was an accomplishment because I took the skills and techniques that I had obtained throughout my experience and applied them to an intervention that can be used in the organization's programs.
The greatest lessons I learned were to keep learning and think critically. My supervisors stressed the importance of evidence-based, trauma-informed techniques when interacting with clients. They emphasized the need to approach everything with an open mind and to learn from the clients and others to improve the organization. They also stressed thinking critically to provide relevant services that address barriers, like transportation and cultural differences.
What advice would you give?
I would advise future students to ask many questions and be open to challenges. It can be hard to start a new position, but there is positive learning that comes from new experiences. I would also say to advocate for yourself and ask for tasks that you are passionate about; play to your strengths, and your organization will see the benefit in allowing you those opportunities.