Jennifer on Week 7 of her Fall 2013 Internship

Name: Jennifer
Major: Psychology
CFS Program: Field Studies in Civic Engagement

I’m interning at Sarah’s Circle, a non-profit dedicated to empowering women who are homeless. So far, I have been fortunate enough to get to know clients on a personal level, while also developing a deeper awareness of the social problems tied to their situations. A typical day for me includes leading a group (such as Dance or Assertiveness Training), meeting with clients for case management, interacting with clients at the front desk, and filling out the necessary paperwork that comes with working at a social service agency.

My one-on-one interactions with clients through case management have been one of my favorite parts of this experience. This involves meeting with clients to refer them to community resources, working with them on their goals, and ultimately helping them find permanent housing. This case management experience has given me so much more confidence in my abilities to work with clinical populations, as I work towards my ultimate goal of becoming a psychologist. Going into this internship, I had my doubts about whether or not I was capable of this kind of work; sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re actually making an impact on people’s lives. At Sarah’s Circle, it’s been so affirming to hear from clients and co-workers that I’m doing a great job.

My biggest take-away from this internship thus far has been the practice of accepting each woman as she is. I’ve learned how to establish trust with clients and create a safe space where they never have to worry about being judged. Many of my clients confide in me about how their current situations are emotionally impacting them. When clients open up to me like this, I feel that I have succeeded in gaining their trust. It is then that I feel most effective.