Toni Alesch

Major: Human Development and Family Studies
Minor/option/emphasis: Select a minor
Company/Organization: Stepping Stone Family Services
Company/Organization website:
Destination: West Des Moines, Iowa
Timeframe: Fall 2022
Advisor/Coordinator Email: jenvan


As an intern at Stepping Stone Family Services, some of my responsibilities have included 1.) assisting counselors/therapists with small projects within the office, 2.) creating a Fall Newsletter for staff members, 3.) researching new/current organizations throughout the Des Moines area for clients to access, 4.) community outreach, 5.) shadowing Counselors, and so much more!


My greatest accomplishment while at SSFS has been transitioning into becoming a counselor and being responsible for communicating with my clients. Being a habilitation counselor requires me to communicate directly with individuals within my caseload and set up session times based on their availability and my own. As a counselor, my job is to help individuals with mental illnesses establish individual goals and assist/support them in meeting these goals.

Learning experience

One of the greatest lessons I have learned at Stepping Stone is that mental illness is very much overlooked. So many people encounter constant barriers that affect how they can live, and many of them lack the necessary support they need. There are so many resources within these communities to assist these individuals; however, many of them are unaware of these opportunities and how to access these support systems.

What advice would you give?

My advice to students in my major would be to take risks and gain as much experience as possible. The more opportunities you have to get your foot in the door and figure out what you enjoy doing, the easier your transition into the workforce is after college.

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